Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to resist pressure from civil rights groups and major advertising brands boycotting the platform to make major changes to Facebook’s policy on hate speech.
According to an account first reported by The Information and confirmed by AFP, Zuckerberg told an employee meeting the boycott is not likely to have a major impact and that most of the advertisers “will be back on the platform soon enough”.
Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said Facebook is ‘not gonna change’ in response to a boycott by more than 500 advertisers over the company’s hate speech policies https://t.co/SureVX89pd
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) July 2, 2020
He said that he would not change policy based on “a threat” to revenue but based on “the right things” for the Facebook community. “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or any percent of our revenue. We’re gonna do what we think are the right things that we think are gonna serve the community best over time,” said Zuckerberg.
However, he has agreed to a new meeting with activists on the social media giant’s content policies.
The boycott is part of a campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit”, aimed at getting Facebook to take a more active stance over racist content and hate speech, which recently saw a huge uptick online following the COVID19 pandemic and #BlackLivesMatter protests. The list of over 650 names includes brands such as Unilever, Verizon, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Clorox and Ford. Besides consumer brands, it also includes Canada’s biggest banks, such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada, Desjardins and Laurentian Bank.
All five of Canada’s biggest banks are joining an international boycott of Facebook over concerns that the platform is complicit in promoting racism, violence and misinformation. https://t.co/eCL0r5SpCn @ADL @NAACP @slpng_giants
— David Beard (@dabeard) July 2, 2020
Some companies only pulled their ads from the platform for a month, while others are now on an indefinite pause.
The list is by no means a unified group. Some of them are part of an official boycott led by civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The others have recognised said boycott, but say they are doing their own thing.
Count us out @Facebook. We stand with the @NAACP & @ADL to #StopHateforProfit. JanSport will stop advertising on @Facebook & @Instagram for the month of July and join the fight for stricter policies that keep racist, violent & hateful content from proliferating on these platforms
— JanSport (@JanSport) June 26, 2020
The boycott is not limited to Facebook, either, with companies also pulling their ads from Twitter and YouTube.
The boycott calls for several recommended changes to Facebook’s approach to curbing hate speech and misinformation, including removing “voting-related misinformation” and identifying and removing public and private groups focused on “white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism”.
The recommendations, listed formally by the civil rights coalition on their website, also include hiring a “C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate”.