Facebook pages pulling ads: Why you should stop buying ads too
Freedom of [hate] speech. While this is in popular debate right now with Zuckerberg facing a lot of heat, we have an adjacent beef with Facebook. Freedom of speech on Facebook seems like a simple & constitutional idea at base-level, but it’s important to consider how multi-billion dollar companies like Facebook can profit off of hate speech – which remains uncensored and liberally shared.
Ads litter almost every Facebook page and appear endlessly on your feed. People buy what is advertised and a large portion of it goes into Facebook’s pocket. Essentially, the more views on a page the more money Facebook gets – easy peasy. If people clamour to read hate speech (which isn’t always to support it) Facebook is making money off of these words. Is it just for Facebook to capitalize on the promotion of deep hate & divide?
The anti-FB-ad movement
In order to protest Facebook’s handling of hate speech & misinformation perpetuated on the platform, big budget advertisers such as Starbucks, Ford, Coca-Cola, Honda, & Verizon have withdrawn their ads from Facebook throughout July. Many of these companies are aligning with the new campaign Stop Hate for Profit organized by civil rights groups like the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Free Press & Color of Change.
Who would blame them for hopping off Facebook? Who would want to sponsor a platform that perpetuates hate-speech? Not to mention, Facebook is pretty lame nowadays anyways – try Tumblr or something. (Though, actually don’t – we don’t really want to see your ads there either.)
The campaign calls for businesses to “stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality, and justice.” Though many of these big companies have opted into the idea (pulling their ads), some still have not signed onto the campaign officially.
According to Stop Hate for Profit’s website, 99 percent of Facebook’s $70 billion revenue is made through advertising. In the wake of all the outrage concerning Facebook’s “do-nothing” responses, Facebook lost nearly $60 billion in stock market value in only 48 hours, though it did rise 1.2 percent later that day.
Stop Hate for Profit’s new boycott is prompted by much Facebook content encouraging acts of injustice. The social media platform has let users incite violence against protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death and voter suppression throughout the 2016 and 2018 elections was rampant. Facebook has turned a blind eye to these issues, having essentially no regulation on misinformation or identity-targeted hate speech.
Zuckerberg left scrambling
Many have called Facebook out, leaving the company in crisis. While many are pushing for Facebook to take more responsibility, Zuckerberg has resisted. Zuckerberg testified before Congress, saying:
“Our policy is that we do not fact-check politicians’ speech. And the reason for that is that we believe that in a democracy it is important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying.”
Zuckerberg has always vouched for “free expression” – it’s a fundamental belief of the company. In an interview Zuckerberg tried to dodge the term “media company” calling it a “technology company” instead. As the New Yorker puts it they don’t want to be “gatekeepers.”
However, due to Facebook’s status as a booming business that monitors and manipulates user behavior in order to make more profit, some wonder if Facebook really is a “neutral platform.” In fact employees of Facebook cried out, “Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing.” It’s time for Facebook to update it’s real Facebook status – they are a media company who makes bank.
With the news of ad companies such as Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, pulling adverts from Facebook, Zuckerberg was left in a lurch. Zuckerberg went live on his Facebook page to present a series of new policies, such as a ban on hateful content targeting immigrants, and further restrictions on posts that make false claims about voting.
Furthermore, Facebook will supposedly start putting “warning labels” on posts from political candidates or officeholders who are known to convey inappropriate behavior. Zuckerberg elaborates: “We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society.”
Resist materialism with us
Despite the efforts being made, Facebook can still be a place of great injustice. When you see ads on Facebook, it’s essential to resist the urge to buy what you see because if you splurge, you’re encouraging Facebook to keep making these ads prolific. Buying what you see in ads is sort of like buying into Facebook’s profit on hate.
Not to be hyperbolic but – the money you spend on Facebook ads will go right out of your pocket and soar into billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s pocket. Just ask yourself – do you really need that pair of spanx or that discounted beer? We know that sweater plastered on your Facebook feed is super cute, but rethink it next time, alright? Join the anti-FB-ad movement!