Friday, 03 July, 2020


Facebook to censor hate speech, even those posted by politicians

Zuckerberg speaks at the Paley Center in New York Zuckerberg speaks at the Paley Center in New York
Conrad Doyle | 29 June, 2020, 20:58

Facebook's growing advertiser boycott could cost it nearly $76m (£61.6m) after major companies joined in the protest against its hate speech policies.

In a tweet on June 23, Canadian outdoor brand Arc'teryx announced it would stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram globally through "at least the end of July".

The drop in Facebook shares knocked $56 billion off of Facebook's market value and dropped Zuckerberg's personal net worth to $82.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him now only the fourth richest person in the world. Starbucks says it is continuing discussions internally, and with its media partners and civil rights organizations, "in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech".

Coca-Cola, Honda, Hershey's chocolate and Unilever, the world's largest advertiser, all said on Friday they would freeze or cut United States spending on Facebook and sister service Instagram, wiping an estimated $56bn from the social media giant's value. "Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control".

Starbucks confirmed to TIME that this pause on social media advertising would not include YouTube.

Champions of the #StopHateForProfit boycott - led by civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - say Facebook has not done enough to keep racist, false and unsafe content or white supremacists off its platform.

"We have been down this road before with Facebook", the group said in a statement.

The brands boycotting the platform includes big spenders like Unilever, Coca-cola and Verizon, as well as some other smaller companies like Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants.

The chain issued an apology, made clear that its policy going forward would not allow a repeat of the Philadelphia incident, and closed its more than 8,000 company-operated USA stores to allow employees to receive racial-diversity training.

Some advertisers have been giving Facebook a thumbs-down. Twitter had taken similar steps earlier.

The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter and Snap in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from US President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral. Sey acknowledged some of the recent steps Zuckerberg has taken, but "it's simply not enough", she said. He said the company will put a link to the voting hub on all posts related to voting, and will also start marking posts that violate Facebook's rules, although the posts will remain up if they are newsworthy.

"Overall, the policies we're implementing today are created to address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they're showing up across our community", Zuckerberg said in a post. "We're also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them".

As the #StopHateForProfit campaign grew, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged some changes on Friday in a post on the website.

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