The Anti-Defamation League issued an open letter to companies that advertise on Facebook urging them to join their cause called, “Stop Hate for Profit” by withholding their advertising from the social media giant for the month of July.
Verizon announced Thursday that it would pull its ads from Facebook and Instagram after the ADL said in their letter, “We found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric, warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts.”
In a statement obtained by Heavy, Verizon said, “Our brand safety standards have not changed. 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.”
According to the ADL, Facebook also sent letters to its advertisers pointing out the steps they’ve taken to try to quell the “hate, extremism and misinformation” that lives on the site, “but like so much content on Facebook, they omit or misrepresent the truth: Hate, extremism and misinformation still thrive on Facebook in sanctioned misinformation, conspiracy theories, and unmoderated hateful groups,” the ADL wrote.
Other Companies Have Pulled Their Ads From Facebook After the ADL Accused Facebook of Placing Ads’Adjacent to Hateful Content, Occupying the Same Space as Extremist Recruitment Groups and Harmful Disinformation Campaigns’
For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We're pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July. #StopHateForProfit
— REI (@REI) June 19, 2020
So far, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, The North Face, Eddie Bauer, REI and Magnolia Pictures had already pulled their ad campaigns ahead of Verizon, according to AdAge.
Patagonia issued a strong statement regarding its stance on advertising on Facebook. Head of Marketing, Cory Bayers, wrote:
Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant. For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform. From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred. As companies across the country work hard to ensure that Americans have access to free and fair elections this fall, we can’t stand by and contribute resources to companies that contribute to the problem. We stand with #StopHateforProfit in saying Facebook’s ‘profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.
Ben & Jerry’s said Facebook needs to take “unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate.
We will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Facebook, Inc. must take the clear and unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate. >>>https://t.co/7OpxtcbDGg pic.twitter.com/I989Uk9V3h
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 23, 2020
And The North Faced pinned their simple tweet about their decision to join the campaign.
— The North Face (@thenorthface) June 19, 2020
The ADL Posted Screenshots of Ads Next to Posts Having to do With Conspiracy Theories about Cannibalism and Pedophilia in Hollywood, & Anti-Semitism & Anti-Muslim Propaganda. They Say That Proves Their Point
What could Facebook do with its $70B in ad revenue?
Could they protect & support Black users?
Could they call out Holocaust Denial as hate?
They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to. Join us. Tell Facebook it's time to #StopHateForProfit https://t.co/DjiGaZFgCk pic.twitter.com/7PzW4d39Oh
— ADL (@ADL) June 17, 2020
On June 22 the ADL published a blog that showed photos of extremist posts accompanied by ads from companies like Geico, Verizon, Febreze, and Proctor and Gamble.
According to the ADL, groups like QAnon and the 3 Percenters have no problem posting on the site and Facebook makes little or no effort to avoid aligning brands with the sentiments of those organizations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is “taking seriously” the concerns about hate speech and false information on their platform. Carolyn Everson, vice president of Global Business Group at Facebook, said in an email to advertisers, “We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure. We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”
Facebook executives say they will invest more in artificial intelligence technology to try to combat hate speech and extremism on their site, according to the WSJ.
Heavy has reached out to Facebook for more information and a statement regarding the accusations from the ADL and the companies that have pulled their ads. This story will be updated with that information when the company replies.