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A Facebook advertiser boycott is gaining traction

Facebook is about to be hit with its largest advertising boycott, due in large part to its handling of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on its platform after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

On Tuesday, retailer Eddie Bauer, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, and production company Magnolia Pictures, joined several other large corporations like Patagonia, REI, and The North Face in a pledge to pull all advertising from Facebook through the month of July.

The campaign is officially titled Stop Hate For Profit and includes over 100 other small businesses.

The campaign’s mission is to “demand that Facebook address racism across their platforms” while calling on advertisers to pull their ads off of the social media platform, as well as Instagram, for the month of July.

We will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Facebook, Inc. must take the clear and unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate. >>>

— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 23, 2020

Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant.

— Patagonia (@patagonia) June 21, 2020

Stop Hate For Profit was launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change, and anti-hate organization Anti-Defamation League in early June, coinciding with Trump’s infamous “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” post that was moderated by Twitter, but was left alone by Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, even after shift criticism and an employee revolt.

On Tuesday, Twitter hit another one of Trump’s tweets about protestors with an “abusive behavior” label, while the same post remains without moderation on Facebook.

Pressure has been building on Facebook to rethink its hands-off approach to policing harmful content. In a statement announcing its plan to join the boycott, Ben & Jerry’s said Facebook is responsible for “being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy” — all of which the social media company has denied.

On a call with over 200 advertisers Tuesday, a Facebook executive said the company is currently suffering from a “trust deficit” as it attempts to assuage client fears over the growing boycott, according to a report by the Financial Times.

In an emailed statement to Digital Trends, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Business Carolyn Everson said, “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Whether or not the boycott will have an effect on Facebook’s bottom line financially remains to be seen. Facebook rakes in over $70 billion annually, much, if not all, comes directly from advertisers.

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Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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