Facebook boycott organisers see ‘no commitment to action’ from Zuckerberg
Organisers of a growing Facebook advertising boycott said they saw “no commitment to action” after meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday.
More than 900 advertisers have signed on to the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, organised by civil rights groups to pressure the world’s largest social media network to take concrete steps to block hate speech and misinformation, in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Free Press, Color of Change and the NAACP met for over an hour via video conference with Facebook executives including Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to discuss the groups’ demands.
“They (Facebook) showed up to the meeting expecting an A for attendance,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, during a press call following the meeting.
In a statement, Facebook responded that “we know we will be judged by our actions not by our words and are grateful to these groups and many others for their continued engagement”.
The campaign, which calls for advertisers to pause their Facebook ads for July, has outlined 10 changes it wants, including allowing victims of severe harassment to speak with a Facebook employee and giving refunds to brands whose ads show up next to offensive content that is later removed.
Civil rights position
Color of Change said in a statement the only recommendation Zuckerberg and Sandberg attempted to address was establishing a civil rights position within the company, but they would not commit to making it a senior executive job or defining the role.
Facebook “refused to offer” live user support with a Facebook representative for harassment victims, and provided no details on an independent hate speech audit it has discussed with advertisers, Color of Change said.
Facebook declined to confirm who else attended the meeting, but the boycott groups cited chief product officer Chris Cox, who returned to Facebook last month after splitting with Zuckerberg in early 2019, and global affairs chief Nick Clegg.
Long-time Facebook executive Ime Archibong, who runs a team designing experimental new products and is one of the highest-ranking Black staffers, was also present, they said.
Zuckerberg said last month some employees working under Archibong would shift focus toward building products “to advance racial justice”, although the initiative is being run by Facebook app chief Fidji Simo.
Policy staffers Neil Potts, Lindsay Elin and Monique Dorsainvil attended as well, the groups said.
“We had 10 demands, and literally we went through the 10 and we didn’t get commitments, timeframes or clear outcomes,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL.
Nonprofits outside the US have also offered support for the campaign, Free Press Co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez said in an interview.