The boycott of advertising, and the challenge of Facebook are increasing

Le boycottage publicitaire et la contestation de Facebook s’amplifient

The associations at the origin of the boycott advertising against Facebook came out “disappointed” by a meeting with his bosses and even more determined to galvanize the hundreds of brands asking the social network to better control content that is hateful and harmful.

“I am very disappointed that Facebook continues to refuse to take responsibility vis-à-vis its users, its advertisers and society in general”, said Jessica Gonzalez, co-chair of the association of Free Press, after an interview video with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his number two Sheryl Sandberg.

“I was hoping to see humility and a deep reflection on the disproportionate influence that has Facebook on public opinion, beliefs, and behaviors, as well as the many wrongs he has caused in real life. Instead, we’ve had more dialogue and no action”, she continued in a press release.

The meeting was “a disappointment”, said by phone to reporters Rashad Robinson, president, Color of Change, adding: “We have not received answers to the questions asked.”

The organizers have promised that the boycott, already attended by nearly a thousand companies (including Adidas, Levi’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks) would continue as long as Facebook does not take “no commitment to act” against content that promotes racism, discrimination and hatred.

The movement #StopHateForProfit was launched a few weeks ago, by organizations that defend civil rights, amid protests against racism and police violence in the country.

The road is long

They claim a position of the referent on the civil rights in Facebook, audits, compensation to advertisers whose ads have worked with content that has subsequently been withdrawn, the creation of teams of experts from cyber-bullying or even the withdrawal of all public or private groups that promote white supremacy, anti-semitism or holocaust denial, which carries conspiracy theories-violent and disinformation about vaccines, or fostering the climatoscepticisme.

Facebook has argued that all the measures taken over the past two years to moderate the content issues and the fight against the misinformation.

The associations “want Facebook to be rid of the content that is hateful, and so are we,” said a spokesman for the giant californian after the meeting. “We have invested billions in personnel and technology to get there. We have created new regulations to prohibit the interference with the elections or the census, and we have launched the most important campaign of information on the elections of american history”.

The associations were hoping for a return on their recommendations, presented to Facebook “three weeks ago”.

But “we got nothing at all,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the patron saint of the Anti-Defamation League, during a press conference. “They have spoken of “nuance” […] they have told us that they were “on track”, as they were improved, they were there almost.”

“But Starbucks will not say: “We are on the right track, 89% of our coffees do not contain toxins”!”

Ad targeting

The organisations want to challenge the economic model of Facebook based on ad targeting on a very large scale. They allege that the network does not act only under external pressure, and often too late.

The violence against the Rohingyas in Burma and, more recently, the sphere of influence of the extreme american right, “Boogaloo”, which has tried to disrupt the protests, anti-racism, have been raised.

At the end of June, the social network for $ 1.73 billion daily users, has banned the groups “Boogaloo”.

Facebook should be published also on Wednesday, the third and final part of an audit on civil rights, launched in may 2018. It will be very critical, according to excerpts from a draft version published by the New York Times.

“Unfortunately, in our opinion, the approach of Facebook to the civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal”, estimated in this audit project, whereby Facebook would not be “sufficiently attentive to the magnitude of the concerns on the issue of polarization and the manner in which the algorithms used by Facebook feed inadvertently content extreme and polarizing”.

Before the meeting, Ms. Sandberg, on his page Facebook, was conscious of the importance of the issues “in the context of what is perhaps the most important social movement in the history of the United States and the best (perhaps the last) chance, for our nation, to act against the racism that permeates our country.”

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