Two major outdoor-goods retailers “have joined a boycott of Facebook after six civil rights groups called on businesses to stop advertising on Facebook in July,” reports CNET, “to push the social network to do more to combat hate speech and misinformation…”
The moves by the high-profile brands [North Face and REI] suggest the ad boycott, unveiled Wednesday, is beginning to gain traction. In addition to the two retailers, digital-advertising firm 360i urged its clients in an email to stop purchasing ads on Facebook in July, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Colors of Change, Free Press and Common Sense say that boycotting advertising on Facebook will put pressure on the platform to use its $70 billion in annual advertising revenue to support people who are targets of racism and hate and to increase safety for private groups on the site.
“We have long seen how Facebook has allowed some of the worst elements of society into our homes and our lives. When this hate spreads online it causes tremendous harm and also becomes permissible offline,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a press release announcing the campaign. “Our organizations have tried individually and collectively to push Facebook to make their platforms safer, but they have repeatedly failed to take meaningful action. We hope this campaign finally shows Facebook how much their users and their advertisers want them to make serious changes for the better.”
In a press call Wednesday, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg said the company doesn’t allow hate speech on its platform. Facebook removed nearly 10 million posts for violating its rules against hate speech in the last quarter, he said, and most were taken down before users reported them. The social network relies on a mix of human reviewers and technology to moderate content, but detecting hate speech can be challenging because machines have to understand the cultural context of words.
“Of course, we would like to do even better than that,” Clegg said. “We need to do more. We need to move faster, but we are making significant progress.”
Among the groups’ demands: removing all ads that contain hate speech — or misinformation.
[We] use bad software and bad machines for the wrong things.
— R.W. Hamming