Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign.

The #StopHateForProfit Campaign Forces Zuckerberg to Change Facebook Policies

Money talks.

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After over a decade of begging Facebook to do something about their hate speech problem, advocacy groups are hitting Mark Zuckerberg where it hurts: his wallet. The campaign Stop Hate for Profit is a joint collaboration between the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Sleeping Giants, the NAACP, Free Press and Common Sense that launched an advertising boycott of the social media giant for the month of July.

Their mission statement reads,

“They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.

They named Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact checker” despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists.

They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform.

Could they protect and support Black users? Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote?

They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.

99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising.

Who will advertisers stand with?

Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.

Please join us.”

NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson released a statement saying, “It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy. Such actions will upend the integrity of our elections as we head into 2020.”

Since the boycott launched, over 133 advertisers, including high profile brands and companies have joined the fight, such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s, REI, Patagonia, Hershey’s, Honda, Levi Strauss, Verizon and many more.

As a result, Facebook’s stock dropped more than 8%, a roughly $50 billion devaluation. In response, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has published a length Facebook post detailing plans to revise their code of conduct. Chief among them will be a new rule to flag “newsworthy” posts from politicians that violate their rules, including those from President Trump.

Zuckerberg writes in his post, “To clarify one point: there is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting. Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down. Similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today.”

While Facebook still has a long way to go towards de-platforming hate, this is a step in the right direction. Zuckerberg has increasingly been criticized for his lack of lack of action, in light of Twitter’s move to amend misleading statements from Trump. Earlier this month Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in protest.

Are we seeing the growth of a conscience in social media? Fingers crossed.

(via AP News, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.