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The social media advertising boycott goes global

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There’s new pressure on Facebook and Twitter to do more to rid their platforms of dangerous, false or corrosive content.

The organizers of a boycott of Facebook say their campaign is going global. The campaign to get companies to stop buying social media advertising already has support from companies like Verizon, Patagonia and Unilever.

Marketplace’s Erika Beras is tracking developments in this story today. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

Erika Beras: The campaign is called Stop Hate for Profit, and it’s led by civil rights groups. They’ve asked advertisers to reconsider what they’re spending money on when it comes to ads, essentially just saying to social media companies, “Remove hate speech from your platforms.” One catalyst for this is the social justice moment that followed the killing of George Floyd by police.

Now, the organizers of the campaign plan on calling on companies in Europe to join the boycott. Brands such as Unilever and Honda have only committed to pulling ads in the U.S.

David Brancaccio: Is Facebook hearing the call here?

Beras: On Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company will start blocking a wider category of advertisements with “hateful content.” Zuckerberg said the move wasn’t in response to the campaign but it did happen after over a hundred brands committed to pull advertising for the month of July.

Brancaccio: This could take a bite out of Facebook?

Beras: Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales a year and about a quarter are from the big companies. But this has definitely affected its public image and its stock.

And, Starbucks said it will pause advertising on all social media platforms and plans to have discussions with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech

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