Facebook should be useful for targeting ads, not hate

NArP’s Derrick Johnson, in the midst of leading a corporate boycott against the largest social media company, told CNBC on Monday that Facebook should be a place to target ads but not hate.

“It is a platform. It is a useful tool for targeting ads,” said the CEO of the civil rights organization at “Closing Bell.” “It should not be a useful tool for recruiting individuals to participate in white supremacy, and using racial hatred speech, gender hate speech, anti-Semitic speech and other harmful discourses that attack individuals and can cause harm.”

Johnson, who is leading the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign on the social media giant along with the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, made the remarks before a meeting Facebook scheduled for Tuesday with representatives of the organizations. More than 400 corporations, including Coca-Cola and Starbucks, have joined the effort by withdrawing their advertising expenses on Facebook and Instagram, the popular Facebook-owned image application, as of July 1. Clorox, Ford, Microsoft and Verizon are other companies that have stopped publishing their ads on social platforms.

The Facebook logo is displayed during the F8 Facebook Developer Conference on April 30, 2019 in San José, California.

Justin Sullivan | fake pictures

The boycott will last in July. Facebook’s decision not to delete a post by President Donald Trump that says “when the looting begins, the shooting begins” in response to civil unrest that spread across the country helped fuel the campaign. The decision also sparked anger in the ranks of Facebook.

Hate speech “should not be acceptable. It destabilizes markets, it will not unify the market,” Johnson said.

The campaign was launched in the wake of the death of George Floyd and international protests against racial inequality to pressure Facebook to do more to prevent users and groups from broadcasting hate speech on their sites.

However, analysts at BMO and JPMorgan are not convinced that the boycott will affect Facebook’s revenue as other advertisers, particularly those dependent on direct response, will be willing to dole out more cash at ad auctions.

Advertising revenue, which grew 26% last year, accounted for almost all of Facebook’s more than $ 70 billion revenue in 2019, but the top 100 brands likely accounted for about 6% of the company’s revenue that year. , according to Morningstar research referring to data from Pathmatics.

“For those analysts and for American companies and for all viewers, the question is whether that kind of society we want to have is where a company can fool us,” Johnson said in reaction to the idea that the month-long hiatus in Spending on advertising will not profoundly affect Facebook. “This channel cannot allow the level of racial hatred to exist on this channel. Communication companies across the country have protective barriers, why should Facebook be the exception?”

Facebook has come under scrutiny for its stance on what type of content is considered acceptable, especially when it comes to political ads, on its website at a time when competitors like its smaller rival, Twitter, have taken a more aggressive approach. to limit the spread of misinformation online. The company said it would review its hate speech controls in addition to plans to tag newsworthy content that may violate policies.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has been cautious about censoring certain information on the website in favor of protecting freedom of expression, and other top executives are scheduled to meet Tuesday with leaders of civil rights groups before mentioned, where organizations plan to put pressure on the founder over his list of demands to curb hate speech and bullying from spreading across the web.

“We are simply asking them to make sure that people are safe and that our democracy is protected,” Johnson said of the upcoming meeting. He pointed to groups linked to the boogaloo movement. Last week, Facebook banned hundreds of accounts, pages and groups connected to the extremist group, which it called a “credible threat” to public safety, which is said to exploit civil unrest across the country in an effort to start a civil war.

“White supremacist and racial hatred groups should not be able to use the platform to rally, recruit and execute harmful activities on the American public, nor should the platform be used by national or foreign interests to subvert our democracy,” said Johnson.