The global movement to force Facebook to remove hate speech from its platform has now caught the attention of the world's most iconic brands. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Honda, Levi's, Verizon, and Unilever have now pledged to temporarily halt their advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instragram amid the growing boycott movement organized by civil rights groups.
The movement, with the attached hashtag #StopHateforProfit, was organized by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Color of Change, and the NAACP. The campaign is aimed at forcing the social media giant to increase its efforts to curb the spread of hate speech and fake news on its platform.
The growing concerns of fake news, hate speech, and racial injustice posts proliferating on Facebook and Instagram had caught the attention of major brands, which have slowly banded together to pull their advertisements in protest.
As of today, companies that have joined the boycott include Ben & Jerry's, Birchbox, Dockers, Eddie Bauer, Hershey, JanSport, Lululemon, Magnolia, Mozilla, Patagonia, REI, Dashlane, Beam Suntory, Upwork, and Starbucks. All of the companies have released their own statements explaining the reasoning for their pledges.
In one estimate, the global boycott has reportedly cost Facebook more than $7.2 billion in lost revenues from advertisements. Facebook's share prices also suffered, as a result, dropping by more than 8.3 percent on Friday. The dip came after Unilever, one of the world's largest advertisers in terms of expenditures, joined the global boycott.
Companies such as Levi Strauss & Co had announced that they would be pulling all advertising campaigns globally, at least until the end of July as part of their pledge. Levi Strauss & Co stated that the restarting of their campaign will greatly depend on Facebook's response to the issue in the coming weeks. The North Face, which was one of the first major brands to join the boycott, announced that it will only resume advertising on Facebook if the company places stricter policies that would block the spread of hate speech on its platforms.
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, issued a statement in response to the movement on Friday, stating that they are planning to implement new measures to control the spread of misinformation on their platforms. He outlined that this would include the labeling of all voting-related posts with a link to a voter information hub. He added that the company will also be expanding its definition of prohibited hate speech, which will now include any post or advertisement that labels another demographic as dangerous.