Stop Hate for Profit is an ongoing campaign to hold social media companies accountable for hate on their platforms. Social media must prioritize people over profit, and they must do it now.
With the support of more than 1,200 businesses and non-profits and countless consumers, we sent a clear message to Facebook in July 2020 with our ad pause: stop valuing profits over hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and disinformation.
We continue to demand change and that Facebook stop hate for profit.
One Year After Stop Hate for Profit: Progress Update from the Coalition
One year ago, the Stop Hate for Profit coalition called for Facebook to address the prevalence of hate, racism, and misinformation on their platforms. Led by prominent civil rights groups and nonprofit organizations including ADL, Color Of Change, Common Sense, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Sleeping Giants, Stop Hate for Profit garnered the support of thousands of businesses that paused spending on Facebook and Instagram advertisements in July 2020.
Over the past 12 months, it has become clear that the concerns raised by Stop Hate for Profit have only increased in urgency. We’ve seen a surge of extremist conspiracy theories, hate, and violence. The coronavirus pandemic was twisted to justify anti-Asian and antisemitic attacks, the country was roiled by unprecedented political polarization and a divisive election, and thousands attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to violently overturn a valid presidential election—an event that was planned online in plain view. But we still lack adequate regulation, bipartisan political action, and, seemingly, the marketplace power to hold social media companies accountable for their role in amplifying hate and racism.
Did Stop Hate for Profit work? The Coalition has evaluated the progress Facebook and a number of other large social media companies have made over the past year in addressing hate and racism on their platforms and found Facebook made the least progress toward meeting the Stop Hate for Profit coalition’s demands. Read the full analysis here.
Stop Hate For Profit Coalition Calls on Twitter and All Social Media Platforms to #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy After Donald Trump Incites Violent Attack on U.S. Capitol
The national coalition of civil rights organizations and advocacy groups behind the largest advertiser walk-out ever of Facebook last summer and September’s Week of Action on Instagram -- is demanding that Facebook, Twitter, Alphabet and other social media platforms #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy by permanently removing Donald Trump from their platforms. Facebook announced on Thursday that it was blocking Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts “indefinitely and for at least two weeks,” and the Coalition calls on Facebook to publicly confirm that this is indeed a permanent ban.
Access to these services is a privilege, one that Donald Trump clearly has forfeited based on an indisputable pattern of behavior that preceded his calls to violence this week. If platforms do not remove Donald Trump by the presidential inauguration on January 20, when there must be a peaceful transition, the Coalition will call on companies to stop advertising on those platforms.
As the entire world witnessed on Wednesday, President Trump has profoundly eroded our trust in democracy by using social media to relentlessly spread his big lie about a “stolen election.” These platforms also continue to allow right-wing extremists including white supremacists, QAnon, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other coup plotters to spread Trump’s lies, hate, and violent rhetoric. For far too long, Big Tech has put profits over people and endangered our democracy by looking away as President Trump continuously and unapologetically violated each company’s respective Terms of Service with his constant output of disinformation, hatred and incitement. This Wednesday, the platforms unconscionably permitted the president to catalyze violence and promote sedition in our nation’s capital.
Our nation faces a clear and present danger as we prepare for the inauguration, and it is imperative that leaders of the world’s largest social media companies finally do the right thing and deplatform the inciter-in-chief before another person is killed or another cherished piece of our democracy is violated.
As a coalition of storied civil rights organizations and advocacy groups, we are also deeply alarmed by what happens after January 20th. It is clear that the seeds of hate have already been sown through countless tweets and posts and streams that have burst forth into a violent real-world reality. The racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, islamophobia, and other forms of hate on display this week at the United States Capitol are easy to find with the click of a button on platforms that serve billions of people around the globe. And most troubling, President Trump has given every indication that he will continue to incite violence and sow division even after he leaves office, making it imperative that social media platforms ban him permanently.
Platforms must once and for all choose which side of history they want to be on -- with Donald Trump and the domestic terrorists that he incited this week, or with America’s families, leaders, and advocates to safeguard our democracy and protect its children. It is a simple choice.
Stop Hate for Profit includes: ADL, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and Sleeping Giants. #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy is supported by Sacha Baron Cohen, recipient of the 2019 ADL International Leadership Award.
Following the Coalition’s advertiser pause of Facebook last summer supported by over 1,200 businesses, nonprofits and countless consumers; and the Week of Action on Instagram this past September which reached an estimated billion people, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies instituted some reforms. Facebook, which was the focus of those actions, created a new senior executive role focused on civil rights (though it has yet to fill this position); finally agreed to participate in an audit of hateful content on the service; and took long-overdue action to remove violent white supremacist groups, armed militias, and hateful content including Holocaust denial. The company also recently began quietly reengineering its algorithm to address systemic bias that has plagued the experience of users who are part of marginalized communities. And after the Week of Action, steps were taken by companies to ban, label, or restrict political ads through the election. These were important steps, only taken after immense pressure, but as evidenced by the continued widespread dissemination of hate and disinformation over Facebook, these steps are not enough. For instance, many of Facebook's policies remain woefully under-enforced, powerful white supremacists remain on the platform, and Facebook has failed to prohibit calls to arms despite repeated calls from Muslim Advocates and the Change The Terms coalition. #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy
-January 8, 2021
#StopHateForProfit September 2020 Week of Action
During our September Week of Action, the estimated reach of #StopHateForProfit was 1 billion. We thank all of the public figures who helped raise awareness on social and participated in our Instagram “Freeze.” Countless individuals also participated in the #StopHateForProfit campaign by posting on social media, participating in our Instagram “Freeze,” and demanding change. Facebook must stop the spread of racism, hate, violence and misinformation about voting across their platforms.
We are quickly approaching one of the most consequential elections in American history. Facebook’s unchecked and vague “changes” are falling dangerously short of what is necessary to protect our democracy.
Facebook’s role in the Kenosha shooting—which was flagged as violating their policies hundreds of times—is a reminder that changing policies without changing enforcement means little. It reinforces the fact that lives are on the line.
Facebook’s failures lead to real-life violence and sow division, and we’re calling on the company to improve its policies. We need to urge people to vote and demand Facebook stop undermining our democracy. Enough is enough.
-September 18, 2020
Statement from Stop Hate For Profit on July 2020 Ad Pause Success and #StopHateForProfit Campaign
At the start of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, we asked companies to help us send a message that Facebook must stop valuing profits over hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and disinformation.
The success of this campaign is unmistakable. We forced an unprecedented public examination of Facebook’s deep harms to marginalized communities and the health of our democracy. This didn’t happen overnight. It was built on years of campaigning by civil rights organizations, media responsibility groups and Black leadership. Before these efforts, Facebook fiercely opposed civil rights protections and totally expunging hate unless there were public relations crises to handle.
But our forces combined with the support of more than 1100 companies including major corporations and small businesses; more than 100+ nonprofits including racial justice, human rights and labor groups, religious organizations; and countless individuals — we sent a clear message to Facebook’s leadership: this does not stand with our common values and society is no longer willing to tolerate your inaction and profiting from hate and misinformation.
Since the start of our campaign, some of the most iconic brands in the world have pulled millions in ad dollars from the platform. Stop Hate for Profit already forced Facebook to make a series of concessions to long-standing demands of civil rights organizations. They announced the creation of a senior role to oversee civil rights. They established a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias. They publicly released their long-delayed civil rights audit that demonstrated their “vexing” policy decisions were “setbacks for civil rights.” Their new commitment to an independent audit may end up satisfying one of our demands if it is independent, transparent, and public. And they have finally begun taking long overdue action against some hateful movements like Boogaloo. If not for Stop Hate for Profit and this extraordinary coalition of businesses, nonprofits and consumers, none of this would have happened. But this is not close to what needs to happen.
Other social media companies have heard our message and started to step up. For example, Twitter took strong action against dangerous conspiracy theories that have led to real-life violence. Reddit took action by updating its content policies to better address hate and removed over 2000 hate-filled subreddits. YouTube took overdue action against white supremacists who use their platform. While these steps are not sufficient, they show a commitment toward real progress. More importantly, these companies are sitting at the table with us and actively working to take additional steps to protect the civil rights of their users, tackle hate and harassment on their platforms, and safeguard our democracy.
Stop Hate for Profit sent a clear message that Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to hear by the collective actions of many, not just our coalition. He cannot turn away from the demands of his employees, the demands of his advertisers, the demands of his users, and the demands of society. Zuckerberg didn’t expect advertisers to revolt, they did. He didn’t expect employees to speak up, they did. He didn’t expect civil rights organizations to unite, we did. He didn’t expect Facebook to pay a financial price, it did.
To be clear, Mr. Zuckerberg has not yet approached the type of meaningful action that we want to see. The issue is not that Facebook just lags competitors in working systemically to address hate and bigotry on their platform. To use a favorite term of Facebook’s leadership, Facebook’s attitude towards seriously addressing how their algorithms push hate, violent conspiracy theories, and disinformation is transparently “inauthentic.” Mr. Zuckerberg treats meetings and dialogue as outcomes. He puts more effort into obfuscation, lobbying, and distribution of misleading talking points than seriously addressing the deadly consequences of his choice to profit from hate. In the words of one of their own engineers who resigned this month over leadership’s unwillingness to take action on problematic content, “Facebook is hurting people at scale.” Society cannot afford the Facebook status quo.
We called for a Facebook ad pause for the month of July as the mobilization for the Stop Hate for Profit movement. Many companies, frustrated by Facebook’s unwillingness to address their concerns, have already said they are not ready to return to Facebook’s platforms. We applaud them for that decision. We see this movement growing in Europe and in other areas. And we have explicit commitments from many advertisers to participate in future pauses and new actions if Facebook continues to ignore their demands for change.
This movement will not go away until Facebook makes the reasonable changes that society wants. The ad pause in July was not a full campaign – it was a warning shot across Facebook’s bow. This movement only will get bigger and broader until Facebook takes the common-sense steps necessary to mitigate the damage it causes. And it has spurred additional constituencies who also are demanding change. We saw this demonstrated in full force yesterday in Congress where legislators forced Mark Zuckerberg to testify and held him accountable for Facebook’s failures. And we expect more constituencies will emerge in the coming weeks as this movement gains even more momentum.
Now, we know that change will not happen overnight, and we remain willing to engage with Facebook when they are prepared to commit to a public timeframe and substantive action relative to our very straightforward demands.
Mark Zuckerberg, the ball is in your court.
- July 30, 2020