Washington (AFP) – Several US firms have joined a call by activists to halt ad spending on Facebook over concerns the leading social network has fallen short in efforts to crack down on hate speech and incitements to violence.
The sporting goods maker Patagonia added its name to the list Sunday, joining rivals North Face and REI and the freelance staffing agency Upwork.
Patagonia said on Twitter it was joining the “Stop the Hate for Profit” initiative unveiled by civil rights activists last week.
“Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign,” the California firm said.
“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.”
North Face, also based in California, was the first to join the campaign on Friday, tweeting in response to a boycott call: “We’re in. We’re Out,” adding later: “This includes all Facebook owned properties.”
The #StopHateForProfit appeal was supported by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ColorOfChange, FreePress and the activist group Sleeping Giants.
The campaign comes as the social media giant faces growing pressure over its hands-off approach to misinformation and inflammatory posts, including from US President Donald Trump.
“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,” the NAACP said in a tweet.
The coalition criticized Zuckerberg’s decision to not moderate the US president — only a day after the CEO again defended his decision not to limit Trump’s often controversial, incendiary and inaccurate posts.
Upwork said it was “hitting pause on hate with no Facebook advertising in July.”
REI also joined over the weekend stating: “For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.”
Facebook vice president Carolyn Everson said in a statement: “We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”
The social network last week said it removed ads by Trump’s re-election campaign that contained a symbol used in Nazi Germany for political prisoners, a move welcomed by rights activists.