The Hill: Facebook boycott gains momentum

June 24, 2020 Media

Facebook is coming under mounting pressure from major companies to rein in hateful content on the platform or risk further loss of ad revenue.

In the past week, companies like Patagonia, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s and REI have joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign organized by civil rights groups in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Organizers of the Facebook boycott acknowledge that while previous efforts to change Facebook’s platform have fallen short, the national focus on racial injustice has put a spotlight on all aspects of life, including social media.

Even with early momentum, many questions remain unanswered about the effectiveness of the campaign.

Sarah Miller, director of the American Economic Liberties Project and co-director of Freedom from Facebook and Google, said Facebook is unlikely to budge without regulatory changes.

“It is obviously good to see this kind of energy emerge, it just needs to be complemented with the focus on changing the business model and preventing the monetization of hate that’s at its root,” she said.

Facebook’s massive ad revenue is another challenge for the campaign. The company reported nearly $70 billion in revenue in 2019, more than 90 percent of which came from advertising.