“As a brand we always do our very best to stand on the right side of issues. Facebook has clearly made a decision that they will not intervene when their platform is used to spread hate. As a result, we are joining hundreds of other like minded brands and pulling our ad spending on their platforms for the month of July. This is not about canceling Facebook. This is simply about showing our displeasure, as customers of Facebook's, with their policy towards clearly hateful and harmful speech across their platform. We hope our actions and the actions of all the other companies taking part in this pause will influence a change for the better.” -Eric Fleet, Founder
So let's get into it.
Well, a lot of things. From privacy to hacking to elections to hate speech, Facebook cannot seemingly keep a lid on their own platform. Here are some of the highlights.
The cracks were first revealed in the 2016 election, where it was believed that the platform was hacked by Russian hackers and used to manipulate information in favor of the Trump campaign. Also happening during this time was the spread of misinformation on the platform, hacking aside. It was made clear that they were not taking measures severely enough to monitor what content was being pushed. This is when groups started to form with civil rights concerns on how Facebook is negatively influencing users resulting in serious societal issues.
Additionally, arising during this time and gaining traction after the fact, privacy and the use of personal data was a huge issue. From the collection of data to the selling of it, Facebook went under serious fire for how personal data was handled. And, people were worried about the safety of their data among the hacking occurrence. This aspect has, in outward appearance, gotten better with easier to understand terms and the choice to enable or disable cookies on the media site. (Whether or not their claims of privacy and protection are in good faith is another facet of this point.)
Most recently, and what put many over the edge, is the social media's involvement in hate speech ... and their overall lack of effort to stop or even monitor it. While the CEO preaches "free expression," there is a line between allowing people to speak their mind, and promoting this content for profit, consequently reinforcing either incorrect information regarding political matters or 'unknowingly' encouraging racially charged content. And, throughout all of these raised problems starting in 2016, what Facebook has done is 1) reinforce the support of free expression, 2) make loose, cryptic statements that don't mean anything, and 3) agree to audits that ultimately lead nowhere. Regarding the most recent concern of hate speech, that is exactly what they decided to do. But, the groups speaking out against the platform (now formerly the coalition behind #StopHateForProfit) said that is not enough this time around.
So, we are all boycotting until something REAL happens.
How Does This Help?
The idea behind the boycott is to make the issue relevant to the media giant by taking away its main source of income: in a major way. With over 300 companies boycotting globally, some of them top-spenders (Coca-Cola, Unilever, Adidas, Target, the list goes on), Facebook has already lost millions of dollars in ad spend. With the conditions of the boycott being to seize the pass of hate speech and enforce noticeable changes, the hope is that the platform will do so in order to make advertising money again. Until then, dollars are trending downwards for Facebook.
On a larger note, some are predicting that this will change the landscape of social media advertising altogether. "The slew of big brands publicly switching off social media advertising aren’t likely to come back until real change is made," according to World Federation of Advertisers CEO Stephen Loerke. He is seeing this boycott as a turning point in the realm, where brands are going to start valuing societal safety over advertising dollars. Why? Because the livelihood of people matters more.
And if 2020 has done nothing else, it has swiftly taught us that fact.
So, in light of change on the horizon, there are predictions of new ways to standardize and control the spread of ill-intended content. The emphasis on human life over brand profitability is seen to take heed. And, this will ultimately shape the way companies advertise and promote. But, all of those are to be foreseen. Until then, we will see where the rest of this year takes us.
Thank you! Great decision, and I will continue to give you my brand loyalty.
Thank you for taking a stand. I also am boycotting FB and have been for about a month. I only post when a company says they are boycotting hoping to get others to do the same.
Thank you for caring!
Thank you for demonstrating corporate integrity when it deeply matters.