Stop Hate For Profit: Why We're Boycotting Facebook & Instagram This Month
Posted on July 03 2020
Stop Hate for Profit
It's a new movement but the problem with Facebook's platform is far from new. The reason companies are boycotting the world's largest social media network, Facebook, as well as Instagram (owned by Facebook) and WhatApp. As of July 1st, we, Grassroots California, Grassroots Chicago, Grassroots Colorado, and the Movement Gallery, will be pausing all posts and ads on these social media accounts. And while "this isn't an airport", we do in fact need to announce our departure because this kind of boycott, the lack of posting or publishing ads, is one you might not even notice.
The Powerful Impact
Major companies participating include Adidas, Ben & Jerry's, Coca Cola, Clorox, Eddie Bauer, Ford, Hershey, Honda, JanSport, lululemon, Microsoft, Patagonia, The North Face, Target, REI, Vans, Verizon, Volkswagen, and so many more: we've all taken a stand against Facebook and will not be funding either social media platform. One study shows that stock prices can drop 1% a day from these boycotts with national media coverage. While we won't know the full impact of this movement until much later, the Facebook stock already dropped more than 8% on Friday, which is $56 billion in 24 hours.
So why are we so passionate and determined this is a reasonable action? I'm so glad you asked.
Facebook Can Do More
The spread of misinformation from non-credible sources on Facebook is vast. From voter suppression campaigns to false media claims charged by white nationalists, Facebook hasn't really done much to prevent "fake news". Moderation of groups and posts is left mostly to users to report and it's often managed automatically by AI, which is concerning to people truly experiencing harassment and hate. There also isn't any sort of verification on the network. Users can still "join" antisemitic and racist Facebook Groups, follow Pages that promote violence, white supremacy, and denialism, and even pay for ads to promote it all. If Twitter can labels tweets with false claims and help you identify and verify credible sources properly, Facebook can do more to make sure what you're seeing is credible information and labeled appropriately.
Just Because You Don't See It, Doesn't Mean It's Not There
Maybe the violence and hate isn't in your feed, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This is a global platform and in, some parts of the world, synonymous with internet access. Holding Facebook accountable for moderating media isn't a new problem and it's way bigger than your typical profile or post. The most notable case of Facebook failing to manage faek accounts and hate-posts dates back to 2017: Myanmar's Genocide Campaign. It was driven by authoritarian military leaders who used the platform to attack minority groups through propaganda. At first, seemingly real profiles became trending accounts for news and spreading rumors that ultimately caused more than 700,000 people to flee the country in an "ethnic cleansing" effort. It took more than a year for Facebook to take action, recognize the problem, and remove the accounts. While we aren't seeing as drastic of a social attack through cyberspace, Facebook has been relatively hands-off during the current civil rights movement, not moderating posts or paid ads from hate groups and pages.
Facebook has continued to allow campaigns directly related to voter suppression, violence, and racism, but has blocked our ads because of the word "cannabis".
There is definitely room for improvement on Facebook's Policies and this is our national call to action.
We're Still Here! Stay Connected!
It's important for us to make sure you can still shop and connect with us without the use of Facebook or Instagram. Here are some awesome ways to stay connected with Grassroots California during this boycott:
1) Download our new App! Now available on Google Play and the App Store, our new mobile app is the easiest way to shop from your phone! Enable push notifications to get sale reminders, exclusive discounts, merch drop announcements, and relevant news directly from us. You'll also get 35% off an order just for downloading the app!
2) Sign up for our SMS Texting! Use the link or text "Grassroots" to 80519 to sign up! We use texting to send you sales, discount codes, merch drops, and updates 1-3 times a week. You can always text "STOP" to opt-out at any time. You'll get 20% off an order for signing up, too!
3) Check your emails! We'll be emailing a little more than usual to make sure you can see the newest items, blog posts, and promotions!