Telcos join the Facebook boycott

Telcos join the Facebook boycott

07 July 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

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Verizon and Digicel have joined other major brands in its advertising strike against Facebook.

Facebook is in the midst of an advertising boycott from several its advertisers following criticism that the social media giant was not doing enough to counter hate speech on its platform.

To date more than more than 750 advertisers have joined the strike and have complied a list of 10 recommendations that if enacted will help Facebook curb hate speech and make civil rights a priority when moderating content.

Such recommendations includes hiring C-suite level executives with civil rights expertise; consent to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation; and find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism, to name a few.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign is organised by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and other organisations who are advocating that businesses help them to 'hit pause on hate' by pausing their paid advertising activities on Facebook platforms for the month of July.

Companies that have already joined the movement includes Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hersheys, Puma, Ford, Honda, North Face, Ben and Jerrys, Levi, Mangolia Pictures, Microsoft, Starbucks, Unilever, Vans, Patagonia and Rei.

Jumping into the fold are an increasing number of telcos, including Verizon arguably one of the biggest advertisers on the platform.

In a statement at the end of June the Verizon’s chief media officer John Nitti released a statement saying:

“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action. We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”

In response, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of Global Business Group, said: “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Adding that the company is actively speaking to advertisers on how to be an overall “force for good”.

Caribbean mobile operator Digicel has also jumped into the cause confirming that the telco will stop all paid advertising activities on Facebook platforms globally for the month of July as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.

"Everything we do across our 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific is with the aim of helping to create a world where no one gets left behind. And there's no room in that world for the promotion of hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence," said Jean-Yves Charlier, Digicel Group CEO.

"In seeking always to lead with positivity and the spirit of inclusion, proudly today on behalf of our 7,000 wonderfully diverse Digicel employees globally, our customers and our communities, we're 'hitting pause on hate'. By standing together with the world's best companies, our hope is that Facebook will be forced to put people above profits and do the right thing to help build a society where all people are respected and valued equally – as is their basic human right."

In addition, Digicel has pledge $30,000 to Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) to assist in its tireless work to ensure the rights of all Jamaicans.