Civil rights groups have organized an advertising boycott with more than 300 participants since the movement began. The uproar that has been created by the boycott doesn’t seem to be touching ground anytime soon as it has become a major problem with a huge company like Facebook even.
International collaboration has been called upon by the civil rights group now so the movement could expand across borders. The waves created by them have already taken on brands like Starbucks as the company has decided to pull back their ads from Facebook’s platform.
It is not clear yet where the boycott on advertising is headed or what the groups that have started its plan to accomplish once it gains more momentum. Despite that, it has had a major effect on other huge brands like Coca Cola and Target, which are brands that heavily invest in advertising. They are currently revising their advertising budgets.
As advertisers have been pulling back on their advertising budget, many of them are also signing onto the official ‘Stop hate for profit’ boycott. The same appears to have encouraged many businesses involved in the heavy marketing of their products to reassess their advertising budgets.
The aim of the boycott isn’t very clear right now. Still, it is creating significant changes already as Facebook has lost $56 billion in its market value, which has rendered Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth reduced by $7.2 billion. It is bound to have a chain effect as the company is expected to lose more in the future, and some changes in the management would also be in order after that.
Some ways have been listed by the boycott, which could be Facebook’s savior in the future. The list of ‘recommendations’ as suggested by the groups involved in the boycott include changes in policies followed by companies and bring in changes that could discourse extremism.
Many suggestions have already been put in front of Facebook, as they have been asked to hire ‘C-suite level civil rights experts’ permanently as a part of the company’s civil rights management structure.
Refunds have also been asked for advertisers whose content was removed by Facebook because of the violation of terms of service. Audits are another part of the suggestion, as done by third parties, so the company’s policies around hate speech can be checked upon.
Facebook has been given many suggestions by the groups leading the boycott, including having more permanent employees that work around opposing hate speech and harassment experienced by users on the social media platform. According to them, there should be one Facebook employee for every Facebook user in an ideal scenario.
More has been requested from Facebook, along with the removal of groups that regularly spread misleading information on the platform. Facebook hasn’t responded to any of the requested suggestions yet. Still, earlier, when the boycott had just begun, Facebook VP had informed that no changes had been made to the company’s policies because of revenue pressure. Despite what has been said, evidence informs otherwise.
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg did announce that the company is planning to add labels to its posts and eventually expand the current hate speech policy it has. The advertisers working with them have also been informed that the plan involves working with third-party audit companies to ensure brand safety through its policies. After this, many violent accounts were also deleted by Facebook with the claim that they were under observation for a long time.
The steps that Facebook has taken as of now seem very small to the critics, and many believe that an opportunity to bring about change has been wasted. Keeping in mind everything, it seems that Facebook’s ad revenue wouldn’t dwindle much over time because most of it comes from smaller businesses and the ones who have pulled back only contribute a fraction to it.
The pressure of the company to prevent hate speech is still intact, as a letter was sent to Mark Zuckerberg by Senate Democrats, pushing him to do more. If the pressure remains, many changes would be evident, including some concessions from Facebook.
Image source: TheVerge