The Ads Boycott to Stop Hate for Profit
by Kristen Williams
This July, Spinster Sisters joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign and paused our advertising on Facebook and Instagram as part of a coalition of businesses demanding policy changes to the platforms.
Hate, harassment, disinformation, conspiracies, and voter suppression should not be ideas up for debate. They are dangerous to humanity and democracy. Many advertisers, including us, believe in equality, social and racial justice, science, truth, respect, and love. We don’t deserve to have our ads featured next to hateful content that should be removed by policy. We paused our ad spending to demand these changes because we don’t think anyone should profit from hate – not us, and not Facebook.
Our company values and mission have a focus on a commitment to positive cultural and social impact. The hateful speech Facebook allows is antithetical to our beliefs and purpose. Facebook provides a home for secretive hate groups of significant scale, and we don’t want our advertising money being used to prop up a service that makes this possible. There are easy steps Facebook can take to better align with the values we share with many of the businesses involved in this boycott. As a company that consciously strives to do better for people and the planet, we had to stand up in this fight.
We fully support the Stop Hate for Profit list of 10 changes that should be made to Facebook policy:
- Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate. This person would make sure that the design and decisions of this platform considered the impact on all communities and the potential for radicalization and hate.
- Submit to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website. We simply can no longer trust Facebook’s own claims on what they are or are not doing. A “transparency report” is only as good as its author is independent.
- Provide audit of and refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violations of terms of service. We have documented many examples of companies’ advertisements running alongside the horrible content that Facebook permits. That is not what most advertisers pay for, and they shouldn’t have to.
- Find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.
- Adopting common-sense changes to their policies that will help stem radicalization and hate on the platform.
- Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users.
- Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review. Private groups are not small gatherings of friends - but can be hundreds of thousands of people large, which many hateful groups are.
- Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format. Given the importance of political and voting matters for society, Facebook’s carving out an exception in this area is especially dangerous.
- Create expert teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment. Forty two percent of daily users of Facebook have experienced harassment on the platform, and much of this harassment is based on the individual’s identity. Facebook needs to ensure that their teams understand the different types of harassment faced by different groups in order to adjudicate claims.
- Enable individuals facing severe hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee. In no other sector does a company not have a way for victims of their product to seek help.
The above are not sufficient, but they are a start. Facebook is a company of incredible resources. We hope that they finally understand that society wants them to put more of those resources into doing the hard work of transforming the potential of the largest communication platform in human history into a force for good. Sign the petition to tell Facebook to Stop Hate for Profit to ensure that this movement continues even after the boycott has passed.