Several civil rights groups, including the The Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, are calling for an advertising boycott of Facebook on Wednesday, claiming the tech giant isn’t doing enough to weed out misinformation and “hate speech.”
The campaign launched with a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times. In it, the groups accuse CEO Mark Zuckerberg of allowing extremists to promote violence, thanks to Facebook’s laissez faire moderation policies in comparison to other tech companies. Facebook is also criticized for not taking action against President 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 ad 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.”
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.
“Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence,” the ad continued.
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. Last week, 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.”
Zuckerberg had made similar comments multiple times last year, like when Facebook was skewered by many on the left, including Elizabeth Warren, for not fact-checking its political ads.