Ben & Jerry’s Joins Growing Facebook Ad Boycott, Says Tech Giant Helps ‘Spread and Amplify Racism’

Ice cream company joins Patagonia and Magnolia Pictures in ditching Facebook ads, at least temporarily

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on Tuesday said it would pause all paid advertising on Facebook until the platform stops “being used to spread and amplify racism and hate,” joining several others participating in a July ad boycott, dubbed the #StopHateForProfit campaign.

The movement is driven by civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League. Last week, the groups accused CEO Mark Zuckerberg of allowing extremists to promote violence, thanks to Facebook’s laissez-faire moderation policies in comparison to other tech companies. Facebook was also criticized for not taking action against President Donald Trump’s recent comments on mail-in ballots, unlike Twitter, which added a fact-check notification to a few of the president’s tweets on the topic. On top of that, the groups claim Facebook isn’t doing enough to “protect” its black and Jewish users from vile comments.

“Could they protect and support Black users?” the groups said. “Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote? They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.”

On Tuesday, Ben & Jerry’s announced it was joining the #StopHateForProfit campaign on its Facebook page, where it has 8.8 million followers. Despite the harsh words, Ben & Jerry’s said it would continue to have a “presence” on Facebook.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the only company that’s joined the boycott, either. Magnolia Pictures, REI, The North Face and Patagonia have also committed to the campaign, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. It’s unclear how much the boycott will dent Facebook’s ad sales, and Wall Street doesn’t appear worried about it, at least so far. Facebook’s stock price closed at $242.24 per share on Tuesday, setting a new all-time high for the company.

Last Thursday — a day after the ad boycott was announced — Facebook removed Trump ads and posts it said violated the company’s policy against “organized hate.” A symbol shown in the posts had been used in Nazi Germany to mark political prisoners in concentration camps, but Trump’s campaign adamantly disputed this connection, saying instead the triangle was being used to denounce Antifa.

Along with the ADL and NAACP, the campaign is sponsored by Color of Change, Free Press, Common Sense and Sleeping Giants. The groups have asked for companies to avoid advertising on Facebook for all of July. The campaign also calls for Facebook to make a number of changes, including removing all ads it deems misinformation or hateful and adding live moderators who can help users dealing with harassment.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have already faced a wave of criticism over the past few weeks for the company’s decision to not moderate the president’s account. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said he was “disgusted” by the president’s recent comments on protesting and rioting following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. At the same time, Zuckerberg has defended his decision to leave the president’s account alone, unlike Snapchat and Twitter.

Overall, compared to other tech leaders, Zuckerberg has been more inclined to let politicians say what they want without having Facebook add qualifiers or notifications to their posts.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg told Fox News last month. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”