Last summer, a collection of advocacy groups launched an ambitious advertising boycott of Facebook to force the company to address hate speech and misinformation on its platform. The boycott effort, called Stop Hate for Profit, drew the support of many prominent businesses who froze their ad spending on Facebook and Instagram in July 2020. Now, a year later, the group has released a report detailing the boycott’s impact — and perhaps not surprisingly, Facebook has not changed as much as hoped.
While the group found that Facebook largely made only “incremental changes” across the board, there is a silver lining. Because of the very public pressure on the social media giant, many other platforms took stronger steps to avoid a similar campaign launched against them.
“Facebook enacted some common-sense changes to its platform in response to the pressure of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign and others but these efforts have not yielded meaningful change to the way the platform operates,” Stop Hate for Profit wrote in its report. “Some of the biggest wins came not from Facebook, but from other social media platforms that were not targeted by the campaign — but clearly hoped to avoid such targeting.”
While this campaign may not have been as successful as its organizers wished, it did draw a lot of attention to the problem of hate speech and misinformation on Facebook’s platform — and that’s worthwhile in and of itself.
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