Rights & Money

Major Brands Boycott Facebook Over Hate Speech

A wave of companies pulling advertising from Facebook has resulted in policy changes


By Erika Morris

Several Canadian companies have pledged not to advertise on Facebook in July, along with several major international brands. The list of boycotters includes Lululemon Athletica Inc., Arc’teryx, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Coca-Cola, Honda America, The North Face, Patagonia, and many others.

The boycott, trending as #StopHateForProfit, is led by civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Critics say Facebook needs to do more to keep racism, misinformation, white supremacy, and other dangerous content off its site.

Mountain Equipment Co-op pulled its ads and organic content from both Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness of the harmful content being shared and to demand that Facebook toughen and enforce its content moderation policies.

Lululemon tweeted that “we all have a responsibility to create a truly inclusive society and are actively engaging with Facebook to seek meaningful change,” while Arc’teryx said Facebook profits “will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, and violence.”

After Unilever pulled its advertising from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on June 26, Facebook stock fell 7%. Facebook subsequently announced it will ban any ad containing claims that people from a given race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation, pose a threat to anyone else. Further, the company will ban ads that include derogatory statements about people based on such things as immigration status, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Facebook will also start labelling posts that violate its policies against hate speech but are newsworthy enough to remain visible on the site, a practice Twitter had already adopted.

The major boycotts caused Facebook’s market value to drop by $56 billion, while erasing $7.2 billion from founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth.

Photo: iStock/Wachiwit.