After One Failed Boycott, FRIENDS Pushes 2nd Doomed to Fail Boycott of Meta

With the advertiser boycott an abysmal failure, FRIENDS is trying to get users to not go to Facebook. Good luck with that.

This is just getting embarrassing for Bill C-18 supporters.

Already, they tried an advertiser boycott where they tried to get every advertiser in Canada to stop their advertisements until Meta reverses their news links blocking. The boycott was kicked off with the Canadian government stopping their $10 million payments. It amounted to less than one hour of revenue, but the hoped that others on the thinking that this boycott will bring Meta to heal where they just have no choice but to go along with paying the link tax.

Mere hours into the boycott, things quickly began to fall apart after the Liberal party refused to join their very own boycott of Meta, continuing to shell out the cash instead. Only a handful of other companies joined the boycott – companies that were already vocal supporters of Bill C-18 in the first place.

One example was the Toronto Star which joined the boycott with advertising ranging into the hundreds of dollars per year – not even enough to constitute a second of Meta revenue. Hilariously, those same entities raced to join Threads accounts, cheering on Mark Zuckerberg in the process. With few companies interested and Meta rolling out news links blocking anyway, the boycott proved to be an abysmal failure.

To make matters worse, a weak complaint issued to the Competition Bureau really showed that supporters of the new law are scrambling to salvage the situation – with no good options available to them. Compounding this was news publishers begging advertisers to “pledge” 25% of their budgets to news publishers.

Recently, however, it seems that lobbyists are throwing pretty much anything and everything at the wall, hoping something will stick. Today, we learned that FRIENDS, a major lobbyist organization that foolishly pushed Bill C-18 in the first place, have now urged regular users to boycott Meta:

In throwing their weight around like this, Meta is betting that Canadians will keep flocking back to their platforms, no matter how much disdain they demonstrate for our laws and for our news media. But what if we stood up to their bullying once and for all?

What if we didn’t come back?

On August 23rd and 24th, join us in going dark on Facebook and Instagram.

That may seem like an eternity in social media time, but to Meta, it will seem even longer. At the end of the day, our eyeballs on their platforms are the most valuable commodity Meta has. So, let’s hit them where it hurts.

Meta needs to understand that if our news goes, we go.

Tackling the full might of Silicon Valley head on will be no small feat. If we’re going to turn the tables on Meta, our elected officials need to do their part. So, write to your MP today, and tell them to join our 48-hour boycott of Facebook and Instagram.

The post is in the process of receiving a collective belly laugh. One example being Scott Benzie:

This is satire right? It is constantly mind boggling how out of touch these people are.

There’s little wonder why he thinks that they are out of touch. Research consistently shows that news isn’t a big part of the social media ecosystem. Multiple studies conclude that the reasons why people use platforms like Facebook is to keep in touch with each other and funny memes. News just happens to be along for the ride, but isn’t that big on the list of reasons people use the platforms.

Facebook’s own quarterly reports also came to those same conclusions. Further research confirmed this by noting that news is driving little traffic on the platforms. That added to the existing research that found that only 4 in every 1,000 posts on the main Facebook feed goes to a news link.

Google, for their part, testified that less than 2% of queries are news related. Meta, for their part, testified that news content is highly replaceable on their platforms.

The bottom line is that most people that are on these platforms aren’t really there for the news. All evidence suggests that users have little interest in the news in the first place. This isn’t even getting into trying to get them motivated enough to stop using Meta’s platforms over the news links blocking in the first place. In all likelihood, the most they’ll get is those who are already emotionally invested in the cult-like mentality of supporting Bill C-18 in the first place. Everyone else will just carry on with their day like nothing is really happening.

This isn’t even getting into the fact that even if you could get a good portion of the country on board with this boycott, Facebook is an international company and can easily weather a storm like that in the first place.

August 23rd and 24th will come and go and we can add this to the list of failures for Bill C-18 supporters. Still, by all means, keep giving us critics reasons to laugh at supporters of the Online News Act. Given that we all know where things are going to head with everything, we could use a laugh.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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