Update: On Friday, denim brand Levi's released a statement announcing that it would join the likes of Patagonia, REI, and North Face in an advertiser boycott against Facebook as part of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign.
This story was originally published on June 22, 2020.
On Sunday night, eco-conscious brand Patagonia released a statement via Twitter announcing its plans to join the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, a growing advertiser boycott of Facebook. Concern over the social media giant started during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with pressure mounting ever since. Now, the NAACP, Color of Change, Free Press, and a number of other civil rights groups are calling out the platform’s controversial policies surrounding hate speech and misinformation. On Wednesday, following a month of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of the police, the organizations urged advertisers to pull all sponsored posts from both Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns) during the month of July in order to show the company that its consistent inability to curb hateful content on both platforms will not be tolerated. The announcement was released via an ad in The Los Angeles Times.
Since, North Face, REI, Upwork, and, now, Patagonia, have agreed to join the boycott.
Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant.— Patagonia (@patagonia) June 21, 2020
In Patagonia’s statement, the company’s head of marketing Cory Bayers explains that the boycott will be effective immediately and, for now, will run through the end of July, with further measures being considered if Facebook doesn’t take “meaningful action.”
“For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform,” Bayers writes. “From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred.”
According to Hypebeast, Vans and Timberland are next in line to join the Stop Hate For Profit campaign.
The topic of canceling Facebook has been up for debate for years now. In 2017, Facebook confirmed via a case study of the election that groups had used the platform to sway the outcome in favor of Donald Trump, according to a CNBC timeline. And then came the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when it was reported that the political consulting firm accessed data from 87 million Facebook profiles in order to manipulate voters into supporting Trump’s campaign. The FTC investigated and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified (badly). Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the end of Facebook, and so on. Still, the company persevered. But now, we’re seeing firsthand just how powerful public opinion can be when committed to a common goal amidst the Black Lives Matter movement. This move by North Face, Patagonia, REI, and more prominent fashion companies could quite possibly force Zuckerberg to finally take action.