Times are Changing and Facebook is Already Playing Catch-Up
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Dominic Lucas, Economic Development & Communications Intern
First published June 2020
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
June 19th, I celebrated my 21st Birthday at home with my family. I'm sure I speak for many others in my Gen Z age group, that celebrating a milestone birthday under these circumstances has been very strange and unexpected to say the least. However, I felt at peace with these circumstances and wanted to make sure my friends and family stayed safe as the Coronavirus Pandemic began to ramp up. Furthermore, I was and still am coming to grips with the disgusting acts of Police brutality that have taken place in recent years culminating in the last months with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks.
The global protests have shed light on this issue, opening the eyes of many across the world. Corporations included have taken action against racism and have begun to readjust their policies etc. Nonetheless, some organizations are still yet to take action, and they are now seeing the negative impact of delaying. The day I celebrated my 21st Birthday on June 19th. This day also marked the beginning of another campaign in support of the BlackLivesMatter Movement. American Civil Rights Groups NAACP, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League began the #StopHateForProfit Campaign in response to Facebook's refusal to take action against President Trump's sickening post regarding the protests against the death of George Floyd at the Hands of Minneapolis Police and Police Brutality against African Americans.
In Trump's social media post on May 29th, he said, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts..." and also referred to the protesters as thugs. Despite not being able to take down the post by Trump completely, Twitter speedily slapped a warning on the Twitter post for 'glorifying violence' and responded to the post on their platform. Facebook, on the other hand, initially decided not to respond and refused to remove the post. This refusal prompted organizations NAACP, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League to start the #StopHateForProfit campaign, pressuring major advertisers to reevaluate how much they spend on ads on Facebook until they implement stricter moderation policies. Large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Hershey Co., and Ben & Jerry's have joined the campaign, pausing or halting their ad spend for up to 30 days as Facebook reconsiders their policies.
The pressure as a result a responsible action by large businesses is beginning to work as CEO Mark Zuckerberg did a turnaround in response pubic pressure for greater corporate 'show' of responsibility, stated that Facebook is going to label 'newsworthy' posts from politicians that break rules on hate speech or violent speech. However, there is a new era coming, and Facebook must make a permanent change, or they can expect responses like ths to occur again in the near future, as large corporations begin to hold each other accountable.