Under pressure, Mark Zuckerberg announced today that Facebook will be cracking down on hate speech in ads that run on the social media site.
The move came in response to the “Stop Hate For Profit” Initiative that called for brands to pause their ads on the platform and its subsidiary Instagram for the month of July in protest of the company’s failure to make the platforms less hostile environments. The North Face, Patagonia and REI quickly joined the boycott.
In an announcement made on Zuckerberg’s own official page, the company’s founder wrote: “Today we’re prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads. Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others. We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
Though the policy changes are a step in the right direction, some brands who have already paused their ads on Facebook are demanding more. Patagonia, one of the bigger companies involved in the movement, reiterated its stance on Twitter this afternoon.
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In response to a tweet by the Anti-Defamation League, the brand wrote: “Facebook can and must do more to stop promoting hate and dangerous misinformation. Join the movement.”
On June 17, civil rights groups, including ADL, NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense, formed the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, taking out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times urging brands to follow their lead. “Today, we are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July,” the ad reads. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”
Patagonia announced its initial decision to join the initiative on June 21, following earlier moves by REI and The North Face.
“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,” the company wrote in a statement, attributed to its head of marketing Cory Bayers. “For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform.”
Near 100 major companies halted their ads through the campaign, including Verizon, Unilever and Honda as well as top brands like Eileen Fisher, BirchBox and Eddie Bauer.
The campaign serves up just one way that brands across all industries have been leaning into conversations circulating around race and equality. In the fashion and footwear world specifically, the topics centered aiding the black community with more actions than words, creating new initiatives, making major donations and working from the inside out by hiring a more diverse staff.