Facebook Boycott Organizers Call Meeting with Facebook “Disappointing”

As the rift between Facebook and their advertisers expand, an attempt to bridge that gap has left one side “disappointed” over lack of hate speech plan.

Facebook is increasingly becoming a hot spot for disinformation and hate speech. This is largely thanks to a lack of willingness on Facebook’s part to crack down on such speech. More specifically, the lack of willingness revolves around high profile politicians whenever they spew hate speech and misinformation.

Initially, it seemed like there is precious little anyone can do about this growing trend. That changed when advertisers began boycotting the social media giant by suspending their ad campaigns. Facebook gets a portion of their revenue through advertising. More recently, the boycott took a decidedly Canadian turn when companies including Cineplex, the big Canadian Banks, and CIRA joined the advertising exodus from Facebook.

For Facebook’s part, late last month, they announced that they would be moving towards the creation of labels for newsworthy people on their platform. Obviously, they are seeing a growing PR nightmare on their hands much like the series of data leaks and security issues we saw all last year from the social media giant.

More recently, it turns out that Facebook agreed to meet with boycott organizers. On the surface, it seemed like a gesture of good will. Unfortunately, the Facebook meeting wasn’t all that productive according to the boycott organizers. They called the meeting “disappointing”. From Mobile Syrup:

The organizers met with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on July 7th.

Following the meeting, Jessica Gonzalez, the co-CEO of Free Press and one of the organizers of the campaign, took to Twitter to say she didn’t hear anything during the meeting that convinced the organizers that Facebook was taking any action.

“Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands,” she said on Twitter.

Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, echoed this statement and said that the meeting was “a disappointment,” and that the company did not seem ready to address the issue.

The organizers of the campaign released a statement saying that “it was abundantly clear in our meeting today that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team is not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform.”

Facebook says the meeting “was an opportunity for us to hear from the campaign organizers and reaffirm our commitment to combating hate on our platform.”

So, for now, it appears that the two sides are very far apart. One of the organizers said that Facebook has had their ideas and plan to root out hate speech for years. Unfortunately, Facebook hasn’t even been able to address these problems.

What is clear is that other platforms are already taking action. Clear back in May, Twitter began labelling some of the problematic posts. Late last month, Twitch actually temporarily banned the president for hate speech. Snapchat has refused to promote Trump on their platform. Also, Reddit has already purged 2,000 communities over harassment and hate speech. So, what we are seeing here is that as other platforms take action on hate speech, Facebook is becoming increasingly the odd platform out thanks to their general lack of action by comparison.

If there is a silver lining to be found in all of this for organizers, its that this gives them more ammunition to try and increase the size of their movement. It’s not as though Facebook hasn’t noticed the advertising dollar hits, but as far as action is concerned, boycotters are far from satisfied with the response. So, it’s kind of a slam dunk positive PR move to join the boycott to begin with. We’ll continue to monitor the situation for any developments as they arise.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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