Over 400 Brands Boycotting Facebook Over Hate Speech

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As of Wednesday, 400 brands have joined an advertising boycott against Facebook over hate speech on the site.

The boycott is centered on protesting Facebook’s lack of a comprehensive policy that appropriately deals with hate speech on its platform, according to NPR. Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive at Facebook, is set to meet with the organizers of the boycott after trying to dismantle the boycott, according to Joe. My. God.

Ford is the most recent company to join the boycott and Pepsi is considering joining the boycott. Major brands such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Unilever have joined the boycott. Clorox has pulled its advertising until the end of the year.

The boycott can prove to be extremely detrimental to Facebook, given that the largest source of its revenue is advertising. Advertising brought in nearly $70 billion in revenue last year, according to NPR. Zuckerberg’s net worth decreased by $7.2 billion after Facebook’s share values dropped by 8.3% due to the boycott, according to Bloomberg. The steep drop in share value led to Facebook’s market value also decreasing by $56 billion.

Facebook had initially decided to leave up a post published by President Trump saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” When President Trump had tweeted the same language on Twitter, the social media giant censored the post behind a warning. Twitter had decided that the tweet had violated rules against posts promoting violence. Facebook has a similar rule, but Zuckerberg did not believe the post violated Facebook’s policies.

"A handful of times a year, we make a decision to leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies because we consider that the public interest value outweighs the risk of that content," Zuckerberg said. "In the same way that news outlets will often report what a politician says, we think it's important that people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms, too."

Pressure started to mount internally at Facebook, with employees openly condemning their employer. At least twelve employees at Facebook had expressed their frustration’s with Facebook’s inaction by posting on social media.

Facebook’s inaction in taking down Trump’s post inciting violence makes me ashamed to work here,” Lauren Tan, an engineer at Facebook, wrote in a tweet. “Silence is complicity.”

At the beginning of June, hundreds of employees at Facebook staged a virtual walkout in an effort to mobilize a coordinated response against Zuckerberg, according to the New York Times. Employees, who are predominantly working from home, refused to do work. Facebook has stated that those who participated in the virtual walkout will not be punished.

Due to the support that the boycott has received, Facebook has walked back on its inaction, stating that, similar to twitter, the social media company will start attaching warning labels to posts that violate its policies.

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