Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, the organizer of Facebook Inc., said in an interview with Reuters on Saturday that the “stop hating for profits” campaign will start calling for major European companies to join the boycott. Since the event was launched earlier this month, more than 160 companies, including Verizon Communications and Unilever Plc, have signed an agreement to stop buying ads on the world’s largest social media platform in July.
The Free Press Service and the General Knowledge Service, as well as the American civil rights organization “Color Change” and the Anti-Defamation League, launched this campaign after the death of George Floyd.
“The next frontier is global pressure,” Steyer said, adding the campaign hopes to embolden regulators in Europe to take a harder stance on Facebook. The European Commission in June announced new guidelines for tech companies including Facebook to submit monthly reports on how they are handling coronavirus misinformation.
The United States was indignant at the death of Floyd, which led to unprecedented reactions from companies around the world. Its influence has exceeded the borders of the United States. For example, Unilever changed the name of a skin lightening product popular in India, called “fair and cute.”
As organizers continue to urge more American companies to participate, the global movement will continue. Free Press co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez said she has contacted major US telecommunications and media companies to ask them to join the campaign.
In response to the request for more action, Facebook admitted on Sunday that there is more work to be done and is working with civil rights organizations and experts to develop more tools to fight hate speech. Facebook said its investment in artificial intelligence has enabled it to find 90% of hate speech before users report it.
Expanding advertising campaigns beyond the United States will gain a larger share of Facebook’s advertising revenue, but it is unlikely to have a significant financial impact. For example, Unilever promised to suspend its US spending on Facebook for the rest of the year on Friday. Richard Greenfield of the media and technology research company LightShed Partners said that this only accounts for about 10% of its estimated total annual expenditure on Facebook advertising of $250 million.
Steele said they will urge global advertisers such as Unilever and Honda, which are only committed to suspending American advertising, to promote their Facebook ads globally.
Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales each year, about a quarter of which comes from large companies such as Unilever, and most of the revenue comes from small businesses.
But the propaganda around the hate speech policy has damaged people’s views and stocks. Last Friday, Facebook’s stock price fell 8.3%, and its market value evaporated by $56 billion.
Steyer said the move to urge more companies outside the United States to join in shows that social justice organizations and the companies that support them are frustrated by Facebook’s lack of action on misinformation and hate speech.
He and Gonzalez said that Facebook’s new measures on Friday to ban ads and post hate speech by politicians to appease the boycotters have not been achieved.
“If they think they are done based on Friday, they are sorely mistaken,” Gonzalez said. “We don’t need a one-off policy here and there. We need comprehensive policy.”
Stop Hate for Profit outlines a series of requirements, including a separate review process to help ethnic and other identifiers target users, increase the transparency of reporting hate speech incidents, and stop generating advertising revenue from harmful content.
Ian Orekondy, CEO of ad technology company AdComplyRx, said that in addition, Facebook did not meet the request for a refund. The advertisements of these companies were displayed next to the content, which was later deleted due to policy violations. Added a boycott.
The boycott has accelerated to include other digital advertising platforms such as Twitter. Starbucks said Sunday it would pause advertising on all social media platforms while it works with civil rights organizations to “stop the spread of hate speech.”
The ad boycott campaign has gained the support of a rapidly growing large company and is now preparing to fight globally to increase the pressure on social media companies to eliminate hate speech.