Today, Luis Alvarez talks about Facebook’s Obligation to #StopHateForProfit
The movement, #stophateforprofit is boycotting Facebook to force change and make Facebook show responsibility for hate rhetoric on its social media platform. The #StopTheHateForProfit campaign has asked companies to boycott Facebook advertising as well throughout the month of July as a show of “solidarity with American values of freedom, equality, and justice”.
Luis Alvarez explained that ever since George Floyd’s death, there has been an upheaval and public perception that its time to stop the hate for profit. Things have got to change to improve social responsibility in our society and one of the areas where people have been very critical of is Facebook. They want Facebook to take more responsibility for the content they allow Facebook to continue to post and the way to get their attention is through their advertising revenue.
Throughout recent years, Facebook has been criticized for allowing hate speech on its platform and not doing enough to stop it. Facebook is ambivalent about this type of pressure saying we are just a social media platform, we are not here to edit or censor anybody. However, there has been this ongoing paradox where they do edit and censor when it suits them. Finally, groups came together to put pressure on companies to stop advertising on Facebook.
Facebook advertising is its lifeblood and needs advertising revenue to make money. As a result of the #StopTheHAteForProfit campaign, we have seen this trickle down to where a number of companies have either temporarily withdrawn their advertising from Facebook throughout the month of July and in some cases permanently withdrawn their advertising support.
Over 400 companies from Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Adidas, Ford, and Lego vowed to stop advertising on this popular social network in a growing protest on how Facebook continues to handle hate speech and other divisive rhetoric on its platform. The campaign outlined 10 steps it wanted Facebook to address hate speech including human intervention to automatically flag hateful content. The underlying issue here is, where does a campaign like this go and who defines exactly what constitutes hate speech is, who will decide, and will it be fairly moderated?
It’s a slippery slope and once you start deciding who makes the decision on content, at the end of the day its people that make those decisions not computers. The campaign caught Zuckerberg’s attention and he agreed to meet with the groups behind the #StopTheHateForProfit campaign. Civil rights organizers were disappointed with Zuckerberg’s response stating “Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of white supremacist, antisemitic, Islamophobic and other hateful groups on Facebook that the Stop Hate for Profit Coalitions, advertisers and society at large have heard too many times before.”
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