Digital Marketing

Facebook Ad Boycott

By Editorial Staff

Facebook has been instrumental in paving the way for social media marketing for years. The large reach on both Facebook and their acquired platform, Instagram, has been a primary tool for brands worldwide to advertise and run campaigns. However, due to Facebook’s decision to not filter out hate speech and misinformation on its platforms, hundreds of brands are cutting ties with these paid promotions as part of a Facebook ad boycott. This #StopHateForProfit movement is costing Facebook millions of dollars and it’s just getting started.

Facebook Unfiltered

During this time of a global pandemic and major political activism at the forefront of conversation, social media has become a primary tool for spreading information and communication. People of all ages are tuning into major media platforms to find credible truth to make sense of everything that is being spread on the news.

Of course, with such widespread access to social media, false information (aka “fake news”) will inevitably circulate. However, Facebook is actively making a choice to not filter out evident racism, violence, and misinformation on its platform. According to Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook), “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” Despite Zuckerberg’s statement, hate speech is still being circulated at rapid speed, and considering the strong influence social platforms have on societal progress, this is not something that will continue to be overlooked. 

One primary case of Facebook’s negative misuse was by President Trump in posts regarding Black Lives Matter protests. On both Twitter and Facebook, Trump publicly threatened to use military force on protesters and specifically said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

This deliberate threat to the citizens led to a Twitter violation and the post was flagged as a warning. However, Facebook allowed the post to remain online with no consequence because it was a form of free speech. Zuckerberg’s justification on the matter not only sparked a wave of controversy, but it also excused any further social media activity that involved hate or threatening behavior.

Although Facebook may seem irrelevant to younger generations, this has become a bigger issue than a preferred platform. This Facebook ad boycott has quickly turned into a global movement, known as the #StopHateForProfit boycott.

#StopHateForProfit Promotional Boycott

The #StopHateForProfit movement, launched by a civil rights coalition, is a promotional boycott targeted at Facebook. This movement calls for Facebook to simply do better in managing divisive speech and overall hate on their platform.

Because of the country’s current political climate, brands are using this time as an opportunity to stand against social injustices and disassociate themselves from wrongdoing as they see fit. Brands are choosing to stand with people opposed to money and are suspending their paid promotions on Facebook. In just under a month, hundreds of brands are taking notice and are joining the movement that stands against hate speech. 

Major Brands Who Have Joined the #StopHateForProfitCampaign:

  • Ben and Jerry’s
  • Coca-Cola
  • Denny’s
  • Starbucks
  • Honda
  • JanSport
  • Levi Strauss
  • Patagonia
  • The North Face
  • Verizon

Ben and Jerry’s, specifically, has been known for their voice on political issues. Their social media platforms have been used to unite people with a common love for ice cream while also taking a stance on social injustices, like the BLM movement, and more.

Their voice has caught the attention of many and they have been praised for repeatedly being on the right side of history. The Stop Hate for Profit movement is no different. As mentioned in their statement regarding the boycott, “Ben & Jerry’s stands with our friends at the NAACP and Color of Change, the ADL, and all those calling for Facebook to take stronger action to stop its platforms from being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy.”

As of July 1st, Ben and Jerry’s is suspending all paid promotions of Facebook as part of the Facebook ad boycott to stand against posts advertising racism and hate. On their website, they have an entire blog dedicated not only to ice cream but also to political news on social issues in America. 

Topics Featured on Ben and Jerry’s Blog:

  • Voting
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Trans Rights
  • Racism in America
  • Refugee Rights
  • Climate Change
  • COVID-19 Impacts

In Response to Facebook

Many people are angered by Facebook’s current actions, or lack thereof, but some people who feel especially affected by Zuckerberg’s choices are his employees. When the discussion of Facebook’s choice to enable this form of “expression” first caught mainstream media attention, Facebook employees began to speak out in solidarity of those affected and against Facebook. While they cannot participate in the Facebook ad boycott like brands, they are doing their part.

Employees have specifically called out Zuckerberg’s decisions by saying they “completely disagree” and these posts “encourage extra-judicial violence and stoke racism.” Director of product management at Facebook, Jason Toff, said, “I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up. The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”

Based on these few, of many, statements, it is clear that there has been an impact of the company’s culture that many employees are feeling the repercussions of. The mass public, major brands, and Facebook employees are coming together for a common goal of creating a safe online community. Because of the economic impact on corporate decision-making, brands suspending paid promotions on Facebook could likely be the key to encouraging action and creating change.

This article was written by Daniela Rodriguez

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