Calling on Facebook Corporate Advertisers to Pause Ads for July 2020
On June 17, Color Of Change along with the NAACP, ADL, Sleeping Giants, Free Press, and Common Sense Media called on Facebook’s advertisers to hit pause on ad spending for July 2020 so that we can show Facebook that enough is enough: Users and advertisers demand that Facebook address racism across their platforms.
For five years, Color Of Change has called on Facebook to do the right thing and make their platform safer for the millions of Black people that use it. From the monetization of hate speech to discrimination in their algorithms to the proliferation of voter suppression to the silencing of Black voices, Facebook has refused to take responsibility for hate, bias, and discrimination growing on their platforms.
And what has allowed Facebook to continue racist practices is the $70B of revenue from corporations every year. Companies have a choice to make about whether they want their businesses featured on Facebook’s platforms side-by-side with racist attacks on Black people.
Color Of Change calls on all advertisers to stand in solidarity with Black Facebook users and send the message to Facebook that they must change their practices by pausing all advertising on Facebook-owned platforms for the month of July 2020.
How can my company get involved?
Complete to form below or contact Color Of Change Deputy Sr. Campaign Director, Johnny Mathias, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to declare your intentions.
How will companies that sign on be recognized?
Advertisers who join will be listed on the stophateforprofit.org website and will help pressure Facebook to change their platforms to fight hate. Color Of Change will also note prominent advertisers in campaign materials and social posts.
Are you asking businesses to stop posting on Facebook also?
No, in fact, in this moment it’s important that businesses that join this fight choose to use their social channels to lift up content from Black organizations and creators.
What can businesses that pause ads choose to do?
They can continue to participate in organic (non-paid) postings on Facebook and other social media, including posting about pausing their ads, supporting Black organizations and creators, and encouraging their fans/followers to do the same. They can continue to post on Facebook, including discussing the pausing of their ads, as long as they are not paying Facebook or its properties during the month of July.
With calls across the world demanding justice for Black people in America, Facebook’s failure to protect and support Black users has never been clearer. Losing ad revenue for one month may cause Facebook to reconsider how it has ignored the demands of Black users and civil rights organizations. Additionally, Facebook is soon planning to release the third and final installment of the civil rights audit. Civil rights organizations have been pressuring the company to keep going by bringing in senior-level civil rights expertise that can continue the work.
My organization uses ads to reach our membership about our campaigns. Is Color Of Change asking us to stop running ads as well?
Color Of Change is not stopping Facebook ads, and we’re not asking organizations, especially organizations fighting for racial justice, to stop their ads either. Unfortunately, we have been forced to rely on paid ads because Facebook has gone out of their way to limit our ability to organically reach audiences, even to reach Color Of Change members. Facebook likes to talk about democracy and free expression, but without paying to reach audiences on the platform our campaigns for justice for Black people would get drowned out by paid corporate advertisements. By choosing to halt ads for July, companies are doing their part to make it easier for messages demanding justice for Black people to reach a larger audience online.
What do we want Facebook to do?
As a start to addressing the many issues with its platform, we want Facebook to commit to implementing the following long-recommended measures.
- Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate. This person would make sure that the design and decisions of this platform consider the impact on all communities and the potential for radicalization and hate.
- Submit to regular, third-party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website. We simply can no longer trust Facebook’s own claims on what they are or are not doing. A “transparency report” is only as good as its author is independent.
- Provide audit of and refund to advertisers whose ads were shown next to content that was later removed for violations of terms of service. We have documented many examples of companies’ advertisements running alongside the horrible content that Facebook permits. That is not what most advertisers pay for, and they shouldn’t have to.
- Find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.
- Adopt common-sense changes to their policies that will help stem radicalization and hate on the platform.
- Stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation, or conspiracies to users.
- Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review. Private groups can be hundreds of thousands of people, not just small gatherings of friends. This provides an unacceptable expansive recruitment space for hate groups.8. Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format. Given the importance of political and voting matters for society, Facebook’s carving out an exception in this area is especially dangerous.
- Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption; removing misinformation related to voting; and prohibiting calls to violence by politicians in any format. Given the importance of political and voting matters for society, Facebook’s carving out an exception in this area is especially dangerous.
- Create expert teams to review submissions of identity-based hate and harassment. Forty-two percent of daily users of Facebook have experienced harassment on the platform, and much of this harassment is based on the individual’s identity. Facebook needs to ensure that their teams understand the different types of harassment faced by different marginalized groups in order to adjudicate claims.
- Enable individuals facing severe hate and harassment to connect with a live Facebook employee. In no other sector does a company not have a way for victims of their product to seek help.