With major advertisers boycotting and justice activists calling for it to remove or flag hate speech, Facebook continues its racist ways.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defends allowing the groups and the hate speech as part of the “free expression” that he says Facebook should not stifle. But others call it profiting from hate.
Major corporations who advertise on Facebook have pulled their advertising for the month of July to get Facebook to begin policing hate speech and prohibiting the coalescing of hate groups on its platform. Disney, Harley Davidson, Novartis and Bayer are the latest to join the boycott headed by the civil rights group the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign. Earlier participants included Adidas, Ford and Volkswagen. Over 400 companies have joined the boycott.
The Stop Hate for Profit Campaign is a coalition that includes the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League and other civil rights groups.
The group asked Facebook to address 10 issues that it says were fomenting hate and enabling hate groups on the platform. It calls on Facebook to do independent audits of how it is removing hate speech and banning hate groups and to provide advertisers a refund if their ads appear next to hate speech.
It also calls on Facebook to “Find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.”
It also calls for Facebook to hire a civil rights expert who can vet programs and policies at a high executive level.
And it calls for Facebook to “Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users.”
So far, Facebook has only agreed to hire an executive with civil rights experience to vet its programs, and it says it is working on others.
Facebook executives say they have no “incentive” to profit from hate speech and have automatic filters and other methods to stop 90 percent of it before it gets to their platform.
But Facebook has long been irresponsible as a true news provider, even though it contends it is not a content provider like a news organization. Profiting from the most powerful social media platform in the world comes with responsibility.
Facebook continues to be a platform for racism and hate. It continues to enable groups that would promote these evils even as Facebook competitors, including Twitter and Reddit, have implemented policies to flag or delete content that is racist, hate speech or untrue.
While many Facebook users, including The Free Press, have newsworthy content to provide the platform, others should have no such access if they promote messages of hate or misinformation.
Consumers can join the fight be letting those companies joining the boycott know that they too support it.
Facebook so far has not bowed to public pressure to changes its policies on hate. We hope the financial pressure will be more persuasive.