Two weeks ago a movement was formed against Facebook’s handling of hate speech and fake news on its platform. The movement called the “Stop Hate for Profit” has managed to convince over 400 different companies to stop using Facebook Ads until Facebook addresses the problematic and continues issues plaque its social network.
The leaders of the movement have said, the campaign has been a long time coming, that Facebook has repeatedly failed to stop hate speech and other harmful content from spreading on its platform and can no longer ignore these issues. The Stop Hate for Profit movement was created by the civil rights group Color of Change civil along with the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and other like-minded organisations.
The Movement has seen major companies like Coca-Cola, Adidas, Ford, Lego, Volkswagen and many more all stop using Facebook Ads and join in the boycott. The boycott is also seen as favourable for many companies during the COVID-19 crisis, as marketing budgets are being slashed by most companies in order to soften the blow of the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.
The protest movement could make Facebook lose an estimated $70 Billion in adverting revenue if the campaign continues, this has prompted Mark Zuckerberg to meet with the civil rights groups behind the movement in order to address their concerns. The Facebook stock price has remained steady even as the protest movement started gathering steam this week.
Advertising on Facebook and it’s subsidiary company Instagram is essentially Facebook’s main source of revenue and most of the adverts are sold to multinational corporations, broadcast media and political campaigns. Even other tech companies like amazon use Facebook Ads to reach new and existing customers to sale their products.
It is also widely accepted that Facebooks help put both Donald Trump and Barack Obama in the White House. Facebook Ads are in such high demand because of its 2.5 billion users which are the largest global online population in one single place, making it a perfect place for marketing departments and target customers.
In an open letter from Facebook’s vice president Nick Clegg, he has defended and refuted claims that Facebook makes profits from hate speech and has claimed that it has no incentive to tolerate hate. In a CNBC interview with Mark Zuckerberg last month, Zuckerberg stated that Facebook does have fact-checkers working to stop misinformation, but tries to practices a hands-off approach when it comes to political speech.