US civil rights groups urge companies to pause ad spending on Facebook

Civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the ADL, on July 17 launched a ‘#StopHateforProfit’ campaign that calls for halting advertising on the social network in July. — Reuters

Several US civil rights groups have called upon some of the world's largest companies to pause advertising on Facebook Inc, saying the social network is not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platform.

The groups, which include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), on July 17 launched a “#StopHateforProfit” campaign that calls for halting advertising on the social network in July.

“The campaign is a response to Facebook’s long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform,” the groups said.

In a newspaper ad that urges large corporate advertisers to “send Facebook a powerful message”, the groups said: “Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The death of African American George Floyd at the hands of police last month triggered widespread protests and prompted several large corporations to re-examine issues around diversity and racial inequality.

The world’s largest social network has already come under fire over chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's decision not to challenge inflammatory posts by US president Donald Trump on the ongoing protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday advertisers should use their leverage to hold social media companies accountable. Pelosi was speaking at an online forum about Covid-19 social media misinformation.

The rights groups also include Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense. – Reuters

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