Verizon has joined the growing list of US companies boycotting Facebook over its failure to crack down on hate speech, after one of its ads was reportedly posted next to a video ‘drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric’ on the platform.
The telecomms firm announced Thursday it will pull ads from Facebook until the social media giant ‘can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable’.
‘We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action,’ Verizon’s chief media officer John Nitti said in a statement.
‘We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.’
This marks the latest blow for Facebook after several firms have pulled the plug on advertizing in the last week in support of a campaign calling the company out for failing to stop hate speech and misinformation being posted on its platform.
Shares in the social media giant tumbled 2 percent Thursday following Verizon’s announcement.
Verizon has joined the growing list of US companies boycotting Facebook over its failure to crack down on hate speech, after one of its ads was reportedly posted next to a video ‘drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric’ on the platform
Verizon announced its decision after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent an open letter Thursday to companies advertizing on Facebook.
In the letter, CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt wrote that the civil rights group had found a Verizon ad posted on the social media site next to a video featuring ‘hateful and antisemitic rhetoric’ from conspiracy group QAnon.
‘[The Anti-Defamation League] found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric, warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts,’ the letter read.
Verizon said its pause on advertizing will also apply to Instagram.
The telecomms firm is the latest in a string of companies showing their support for the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which was launched in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd by a white cop which has ignited racial tensions across America.
The initiative is supported by the six organizations and civil rights groups including ADL, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense and is calling on advertizers to suspend spending on Facebook during the month of July.
The boycott is being staged as Facebook faces growing pressure over its hands-off approach to misinformation and inflammatory posts, such as from Donald Trump, as well as over how it has policed misinformation about Black Lives Matter protests.
This marks the latest blow for Facebook after several firms have pulled the plug on advertizing in the last week in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign calling the company out for failing to stop hate speech and misinformation being posted on its platform
Shares in the social media giant tumbled 2 percent Thursday following Verizon’s announcement
North Face was first to pledge its allegiance to the civil rights groups last week and now several major companies including ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, sports brands Patagonia and North Face and the freelance staffing agency Upwork have all joined the boycott.
But Verizon’s announcement could spell trouble for the social media giant as the biggest advertizer and by far the largest company to join the boycott to date.
According to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics, Verizon spent a staggering $1,460,300 on Facebook ads between May 22 and June 20.
It also spent an estimated $406,600 on Instagram ads in the same timeframe.
As well as its telecomms namesake, Verizon also owns AOL and Yahoo.
North Face was first to pledge its allegiance to the civil rights groups last week and now several major companies including ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s have joined the boycott
The #StopHateForProfit coalition claims Facebook earns around 99 percent of its estimated $70 billion annually from ads.
The campaign has criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to not moderate the president, after the CEO again defended his decision not to limit Trump’s often controversial, incendiary and inaccurate posts.
Twitter’s decision in May to hide one of Trump’s tweets for ‘glorifying violence’ exposed turmoil at Facebook, with employees rebelling against Zuckerberg’s refusal to sanction false or inflammatory posts by the president.
Facebook last week said it removed ads by Trump’s re-election campaign that contained a symbol used in Nazi Germany for political prisoners, a move welcomed by rights activists.
But activists called on Facebook to crack down harder on Trump and his campaign as the November election looms.
‘It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,’ the NAACP said in a tweet.
The #StopHateForProfit coalition claims Facebook earns around 99 percent of its estimated $70 billion annually from ads
The coalition criticized Zuckerberg’s decision late last month to leave up a particularly inflammatory Trump post, which stated in part: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’
The coalition criticized Zuckerberg’s decision late last month to leave up a particularly inflammatory Trump post, which stated in part: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’. Twitter hid the same message behind a warning that said the post ‘incited violence’.
Several Facebook employees staged a ‘virtual walkout’ over Zuckerberg’s decision.
The Facebook co-founder then held a conference call with civil rights leaders who condemned him for failing to remove the post.
In a subsequent statement, Rashad Robinson of Color of Change, Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference and Sherrilyn Ifill of LDF said: ‘He [Zuckerberg] did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump’s call for violence against protesters. Mark is setting a very dangerous precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook.’
Facebook told DailyMail.com in a statement Thursday that it respects the decision of advertizers and that it is working with civil rights groups on removing hate speech from the platform.
‘We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,’ said Carolyn Everson, VP Global Business Group Facebook.
‘Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.’
THE COMPANIES BOYCOTTING FACEBOOK ADS:
The telecomms firm announced it will pull ads from Facebook until the platform ‘can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable’.
Ben & Jerry’s
The ice-cream maker said it would pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US as of July 1.
‘We call on Facebook to take the clear and unequivocal actions called for by the campaign to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate,’ it said in a statement.
The subscription-based password manager said it is stopping all paid and organic posts on Facebook and Instagram through July at least.
‘I’m calling on my fellow CMOs in tech to join me,’ the company’s chief marketing officer, Joy Howard, said in a statement.
‘In support of the ‘#StopHateforProfit’ initiative, Eddie Bauer will suspend all paid ads on Facebook and Instagram through the end of July, effective immediately,’ the clothing store chain said in a tweet.
The film distributor and studio became the first Hollywood company to join the movement. The company said in a tweet it would stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram, starting immediately, through at least the end of July.
‘We are seeking meaningful change at Facebook and the end to their amplification of hate speech,’ it said.
‘We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant,’ the outdoor apparel brand said in a statement June 21.
Recreational Equipment Inc (REI)
‘For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July,’ REI tweeted.
The North Face
The outdoor brand, a unit of VF Corp, said it would pull out of all Facebook-owned platforms.
‘We’re in. We’re Out @Facebook,’ The North Face said in a tweet.
A VF Corp spokesman told Reuters other brands in its portfolio were actively discussing whether to take the same action.
‘Upwork is hitting pause on hate with no Facebook advertising in July,’ the company freelance staffing company tweeted.
‘Viber will remove all Facebook-related contact points from our app including Facebook Connect, Facebook SDK, and GIPHY, as well as cease all ad spending on Facebook,’ Djamel Agaoua, chief executive officer of the messaging app company, said in a statement on Twitter.
The women’s clothing designer tweeted, ‘Along with other industry partners, we’re pausing all paid ads on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July.’
‘We will join #StopHate4Profit and stop posting on Facebook for the month of July,’ the advertising agency said in a statement on Twitter.