Thanks to growing distrust in big tech, a global pandemic, escalating climate crisis, and a civil-rights movement spurred by the murder of George Floyd, it seems celebrities, corporates and activists alike are finally taking action against Facebook and it’s subsidiaries.
So, what is the Stop Hate For Profit campaign?
Managed by the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Common Sense, Free Press and Color of Change, the campaign itself targets Facebook’s “astonishingly weak…policies and enforcement” when it comes to managing hate speech, misinformation and incitement to violence. The activist coalition calls for change in regards to the lack of enforcement that “disproportionately [causes] harm to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ users,” explains the organisation.
Stop Hate for Profit calls specifically for a more thorough and credible fact checking process, increased moderation and tangible change in blocking misleading political advertisements. Of Facebook’s 2019 yearly revenue of $US67.9 billion, 98.5% was generated from advertising*.
Who is involved?
In July, the first roll out of the on-going campaign called for companies to boycott or pause associated Facebook advertising, including on Facebook owned properties such as Messenger and Instagram for the entire month. This saw millions of dollars pulled from the social media giant as companies including Adidas, Puma, The North Face, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca Cola, Microsoft, Levis and Starbucks joined the movement.
Despite many companies not directly associating with the #StopHateforProfit campaign, the likes of Adidas, among others made clear the stance of the company.
“Racist, discriminatory, and hateful online content have no place in our brand or in society. As we focus on better practices within our company and communities to ensure lasting change in the fight against racism, Adidas and Reebok will also pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram globally throughout July,” the company said in a statement.
Off the back of the success in July, and building tension surrounding the upcoming presidential election, Stop Hate for Profit called for a follow up Week of Action, running from the 11th September, 2020. This saw celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Michael B. Jordan, Demi Lovato, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington and Cara Delevingne, amongst others, freeze their Facebook and Instagram accounts for 24 hours over Wednesday, 16th September in solidarity with the movement, working to raise awareness and demand change.
Okay, but has it worked?
Though celebrity and corporate involvement meant that the campaign reported reach of over one billion for the most recent activation in September, the long term and tangible results of the campaign have been mixed.
Despite over 1,000 corporate advertisers pulling advertising spend from the platform for the month of July, Facebook reported 10 per cent growth in ad revenue, in comparison to the same time last year, according to the New York Times— a rate the company expects to continue for the full quarter.
In any respect, companies including Coca-Cola and Ben & Jerry’s have said they have every intention of withholding advertising spend on the platform in an effort to apply on-going pressure.
Financials non-withstanding, the coalition announced a range of internal changes at Facebook including the creation of a senior role to oversee civil rights, the establishment of a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias, amongst other new commitments including an independent civil rights audit. The campaign page also noted the updating of content policies to better address hate and violence have been implemented by Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.
As Stop Hate for Profit explains, “if not for…this extraordinary coalition of businesses, nonprofits and consumers, none of this would have happened…but this is not close to what needs to happen.”
And that’s on your latest Facebook update.
Read more on the Stop for Profit campaign here.
*According to Statista.