Civil rights groups want big advertisers to boycott Facebook

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San Francisco– Six civil rights groups, including Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and NAACP, have called on large corporate advertisers to boycott Facebook for its alleged failure to prevent hate speech on the platform.

The other four organisations that joined ADL and NAACP in announcing the #StopHateforProfit campaign are — Sleeping Giants, Common Sense, Free Press and Color of Change.

Launched on Wednesday with an ad in The Los Angeles Times, the campaign asks large Facebook advertisers to show “they will not support a company that puts profit over safety”.

The six organisations said the campaign was launched in response to Facebook’s “repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms”.

The ad calls on large corporate advertisers to “send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

“Facebook remains unwilling to take significant steps to remove political propaganda from its platform,” Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement.

“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,” he added.

The campaign comes after Facebook faced severe criticism for not acting on a post by US President Donald Trump which was seen by Twitter as glorifying violence.

The six civil rights organisations which called for Facebook ad boycott alleged that over the years Facebook has allowed incitement to violence against protestors fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and many others.

The campaign alleged that the social media giant was amplifying the messages of white supremacists, permitting incitement to violence, and was failing to disrupt bad actors using the platform to do harm.

“Facebook has become one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world by allowing disinformation, hate and incitement on its platform,” said James Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense.

“Facebook has refused to stop prioritising profits over the well-being of our society, but advertisers can, which is why we are urging companies to take a pause from spending on Facebook ads until it makes common sense changes on the platform that protect our children, our democracy and social justice in this country.”

ADL’s 2019 survey of Americans using social media found that Facebook was the platform where most Americans reported experiencing hate and harassment.

More than 55 per cent of Facebook users reported experiencing hate and harassment on the platform, the survey found. (IANS)


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