SAN FRANCISCO, June 27 ― Consumer giant Unilever, home to brands including Ben and Jerry's and Marmite, said yesterday it will stop advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the U.S. until the end of 2020 due to the "polarized election period" there.
Earlier, telecom carrier Verizon announced to pull ads from Facebook and Instagram, joining advertisers like apparel brand North Face, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's, outdoor apparel stores REI and Patagonia, freelancing platform Upwork, shipping company Local Postal, password manager Dashlane and outwear company Arc'teryx to boycott the social network.
"There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media". We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. "This does not make us an "arbiter of truth", Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said".
Zuckerberg has staunchly defended his prior decisions to avoid becoming an "arbiter of truth", and has repeatedly made clear he's intensely uncomfortable with the idea of moderating politicians (at least, in most cases) and dislikes limiting users' speech.
"We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action..." The statement argued that, because of the "divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the USA", the company is taking its social responsibilities very seriously.
According to CNBC, Verizon's advertising spend on Facebook last month was around $2 million.
The ice-cream maker said it would pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the United States as of July 1.
#StopHateForProfit, the push for advertisers to boycott Facebook, counts Free Press among its organizers, along with the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, the NAACP and Sleeping Giants. It said artificial intelligence helps it find almost 90% of hate speech before anyone flagged it. Their harassment victim services are inadequate.
The tech CEO went on to add that the site would also begin disallowing hateful content in advertisements. But he says that the thrust of these policy changes came "directly" out of the company's discussions with civil rights advocates, and from the company's civil rights auditors.
"Every day, we see ads from companies placed adjacent to hateful content, occupying the same space as extremist recruitment groups and harmful disinformation campaigns".
Facebook said that it was taking action against hate speech, adding that it had already banned 250 white supremacist groups, but had more work to do.
In a follow-up email to advertisers late Friday, Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions, summarized the announcements Zuckerberg made and outlined numerous steps the company already takes to find and remove hate speech. She also stated that during the six month time period that ended in March, 89% of the posts removed by Facebook for violating its policies against offensive messages were done automatically before anyone on the platform had a chance to read them.
Facebook, which already prohibits advertising that discriminates, also sharpened those policies Friday with a clause saying no ads will be allowed if they label another demographic as unsafe, or if they portray immigrants, migrant groups or refugees as inferior and worthy of disgust.