Shomporko Desk:-Canadian companies are joining a growing list of top global brands vowing not to advertise on Facebook Inc. in July on account of the company’s refusal to manage the spread of hateful content on its platform.
Vancouver athleticwear companies Lululemon Athletica Inc., Mountain Equipment Co-op and Arc’teryx are pulling their paid advertisements from Facebook and joining a boycott that has just been upheld by Coca-Cola, Unilever, Honda America, Patagonia and more.
Champions of the #StopHateForProfit boycott – led by civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – state Facebook has not done what’s needed to keep racist, false and dangerous content or white supremacists off its platform.
They are also disappointed that the company has allowed users to call for violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of several Black Americans.
MEC’s boycott came into effect on June 25, when it pulled its organic content and paid ads from Facebook and Instagram until the end of July.
The company said it wants to raise “awareness of the harmful, racist content and misinformation that is shared on these social platforms.”
Lululemon, meanwhile, tweeted its support for #StopHateForProfit on Saturday, saying “We believe we all have a responsibility to create a truly inclusive society and are actively engaging with Facebook to seek meaningful change.”
In its tweets supporting the boycott, Arc’teryx said Facebook profits “will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism & violence.”
Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif. and also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, said in a statement that it invests billions of dollars each year to keep its community safe and continuously works with outside experts to review and update its policies.
The company said it has opened itself up to a civil rights audit and banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram.
“The investments we have made in artificial intelligence mean that we find nearly 90 per cent of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent European report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube,” the company said in an email.
Their boycott is significant because ad revenues generated almost US$69.66 billion for Facebook last year and is the company’s biggest moneymaker, according to research firm Statista.
However, content moderation concerns have long dogged the company, which has often landed in regulators’ crosshairs as it struggles to balance freedom of speech with its responsibility to keep Facebook users safe.
After brands like Verizon, Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss and Co. and Mozilla pulled their ads from the platform, Facebook’s stock slid by 8.3 per cent to US$216.08 on Friday, its biggest drop in three months.
The stock continued to drop after markets opened on Monday, falling US$3.65 to US$212.43.
The fall erased $56 billion from Facebook’s market value and $7.2 billion from founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth.
Photo credit: Photo Illustration: Amira Lin
News source: The Canadian Press