In July, multiple businesses signed onto the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign to take a stand against hate and bigotry on social media platforms. The campaign targeted Facebook, which has a history of failing to effectively stop the spread of misinformation, fake news, and hate speech.
The Stop Hate for Profit coalition is led by prominent civil rights groups including Color of Change, NAACP, Common Sense, ADL, Free Press, Mozilla, LULAC, Sleeping Giants, and National Hispanic Media Center. During the July ad pause, over 1,200 advertisers pledged not to spend ad dollars on the platform throughout the month of July, from Coca-Cola to Patagonia and Unilever. The boycott would not sink Facebook, but it certainly caught the attention of the company which makes the bulk of its revenue from advertising. Last year alone, Facebook made nearly $70 billion from ad revenue.
“What we have done differently this time is to go directly to big advertisers who also have not been able to get changes from the platform: advertisers who see their ads on Facebook showing up next to white supremacist and white nationalist content and who have watched as Mark Zuckerberg has seen himself too powerful to have to listen,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, in an interview with the Guardian.
Green America’s Green Business Network took part in the July ad pause on behalf of our community of small businesses. At our core, Green America believes in harnessing the economic power of consumers, investors, and businesses to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Just as we vote with our dollars for companies we trust, we withhold our dollars from bad actors to demand accountability. As a part of the coalition of businesses, nonprofits, and consumers that comprise the Stop Hate for Profit coalition, we continue to strive for civil rights and environmental sustainability for all people.
As a result of the July ad pause, Facebook conceded to several long-standing demands from civil rights groups: the company announced the creation of a senior role to oversee civil rights; it established a dedicated team to analyze racial bias in the algorithm; it publicly released a civil rights audit that informed policy decisions that were “setbacks for civil rights” and committed to a new independent audit, and it has begun to take long-overdue action against hateful movements on the platform. These concessions are important steps forward but are not nearly enough.
While Facebook fell short of the demands, other social media platforms stepped up their anti-racism efforts. Twitter took strong action against conspiracy theories that have led to real-life violence; Reddit removed over two thousand hate-filled subreddits, and YouTube took action against white supremacists on their platform. These social media companies are continuing to sit at the table with the Stop Hate for Profit campaign to actively address misinformation, hate, and harassment, as well as protect democracy and the civil rights of its users.
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign is ongoing and continues to pressure Facebook and other social media platforms. The list of recommended next steps includes actions on accountability, decency, and support for users. You can take action with us by reading the full list of demands and signing the petition to tell Facebook to stop hate for profit.