North Face became the first big brand to commit to an advertising boycott of Facebook called for by top civil rights groups, announcing on Friday that it won’t work with the tech company until issues of misinformation and hate speech are better addressed.
- The outdoor apparel company announced its decision to join the boycott in a Friday tweet, simply saying “We’re in. We’re out. #StopHateforProfit”.
- A later statement clarified that North Face is halting all U.S. paid advertising with Facebook “until stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on the platform,” but this commitment does not apply to Facebook-owned Instagram.
- The #StopHateForProfit campaign was launched on Wednesday by civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, who are pressuring large customers to halt July advertising with a company they say doesn’t stop “bad actors using the platform to do harm.”
- The campaign website criticizes Facebook for how it has handled misinformation and hate speech amid international anti-racism protests, which has also sparked internal backlash including employee protests, resignations and condemnation from former staff.
- Though North Face is the first high-profile company known to join the boycott so far, online therapy startup, Talkspace, withdrew from a six-figure content partnership deal with Facebook earlier this month and influential Ad agency 360i reportedly encouraged its clients to get on board with the campaign on Thursday.
Facebook generated $69.7 billion from advertising last year, tailing behind Google as the second-largest digital marketer.
“Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence,” reads the #StopHateForProfit website.
While Twitter has been criticized by the White House for doing too much after fact-checking a number of the President’s tweets, Facebook has received criticism from civil rights leaders, employees and more for sitting tight on the other end of the spectrum. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made clear his stance that social networks should not be fact-checking what politicians post. “Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy,” Zuckerberg told CNBC. Inaction on a series of controversial posts from the President, including one from early on in the George Floyd protests that warned “looting” would lead to “shooting,” has incited backlash and renewed accusations that Facebook’s policies allow hate speech, meddling and misinformation to fester.