Some of the outdoor industry’s biggest brands have pulled their advertising from Facebook and Instagram after a coalition of civil rights groups called for a boycott until the social networks improve their policies on racial injustice. Last week, the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, and four other entities purchased an ad in the Los Angeles Times calling for a broad boycott under the hashtag #stophateforprofit. Adventure Journal also has joined the boycott.
“What would you do with $70 billion,” the ad asks. “We know what Facebook did. They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others. They amplified white nationalists by including news sources with known extremist ties in their “fact checking” program. They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform. Could they protect and support Black users? 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.”
The North Face was the first major brand to join the boycott, tweeting last Friday that “We’re in. We’re Out.”
Later, TNF said in an email, “Effective June 19, The North Face is halting all U.S. paid advertising with Facebook until stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on the platform. We know that for too long harmful, racist rhetoric and misinformation has made the world unequal and unsafe, and we stand with the NAACP and the other organizations who are working to #StopHateforProfit.”
— The North Face (@thenorthface) June 19, 2020
The North Face was joined shortly thereafter by REI and Patagonia.
“Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign,” wrote head of marketing Cory Bayers. “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. For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform. From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred.”
Mark Zuckerberg’s social network makes $70 billion a year and 99 percent of that comes from advertising. Facebook has come under intense criticism for its unwillingness to police lies in political advertising and remove or label hateful posts. It’s also come under scrutiny for a cozy relationship with the current administration.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said, “Facebook remains unwilling to take significant steps to remove political propaganda from its platform. 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. Such actions will upend the integrity of our elections as we head into 2020. We will not stand for this. While we recognize the value that Facebook provides in connecting people of color with one another, we call into question a platform that profits from the suppression of Black votes or Black voices.”
Johnson added, “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. Such actions will upend the integrity of our elections as we head into 2020.”
Stop Hate for Profit offers a list of suggestions for change here.
Photo courtesy Patagonia