More companies boycott social mediaPosted by Annie May / June 30, 2020
The boycotts began with Facebook. Advertisers starting pulling money over Facebook’s refusal to censor hate speech. Now, companies are pulling money from all social media platforms. The latest company to do so is Starbucks, following Coca-Cola, who also announced that it would pause all of its social media advertising for at least thirty days. This will undoubtedly add to the pressure Facebook is feeling.
Despite the tremendous pressure from inside and outside the company, Facebook has so far refused to change its policy on (not) fact-checking political ads. Earlier this week, a series of advertisers have added their weight to the pressure campaign: Patagonia, North Face, REI, and Ben & Jerry. Now, Verizon is pulling their money out. The more traditionally “hippie” companies like Ben & Jerries are no surprise, but Verizon isn’t generally known for its political stances, so this could be huge.
Despite calls from civil rights leaders to curtail Trump’s (and Trump-inspired) calls to violence, Facebook has refused. Over 140 scientists who are funded by Zuckerberg and his wife have signed a letter condemning Zuckerberg for letting Trump spread misinformation. And now, Facebook employees are considering ceasing interviewing new employees to protest Zuckerberg’s inaction.
Last week, satirical websites went after Mark Zuckerberg hard by calling him a child molester and saying he’s dead. They’re not doing so just to be jerks. Instead, they’re trying to test Facebook’s refusal to factcheck its content. This story is especially significant given two things: Trump’s ongoing battle with Twitter and accusations of political corruption previously levied against Zuckerberg.
Facebook’s only attempt to weed out the toxic, fake news articles is highly questionable, and not just because it’s run by someone with open bias. The head of its news partnerships, Campbell Brown, cofounded a website that publishes anti-Warren ads. Facebook also faced backlash after it included the infamous news site Breitbart on its new “high quality” news tab. That news outlet has been widely criticized for posting extremist, “alt-right” content and conspiracy theories.