North Face Is 1st Major Brand To Join Facebook Ad Boycott In Alliance With Civil Rights Groups

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Facebook ad boycott
Civil rights groups called on brands to join a Facebook ad boycott for July, and outdoor brand The North Face was the 1st high-profile one to join. https://www.stophateforprofit.org/stophateforprofit.org / mmg 

Civil rights groups have called on brands to pull out of Facebook for the month of July, and outdoor apparel/equipment company The North Face was the first high-profile one to join the boycott.

Other outdoor brands have subsequently joined the advertising boycott, including REI and Patagonia.

Other brands including UpWork and HigherRing have also joined the boycott, Axios reported. And earlier this month, Talkspace CEO Oren Frank tweeted that the company had ended partnership discussions with Facebook.

The Facebook ad boycott has been brewing since civil rights groups concerned about hate speech sent out a call-to-action on the social network, AdAge reported. 

Six civil rights groups launched the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign Wednesday, including the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press, Common Sense and Anti-Defamation League.

They took out a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times demanding Facebook remove hateful rhetoric and messages that could incite violence against protected groups. 

The North Face tweeted on Friday, “We’re in. We’re Out,” and told AdAge they’re not waiting until July to support a Facebook ad boycott. 

“Effective June 19, The North Face is halting all U.S. paid advertising with Facebook until stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on the platform,” a company spokeswoman said via email. “We know that for too long harmful, racist rhetoric and misinformation has made the world unequal and unsafe, and we stand with the NAACP and the other organizations who are working to #StopHateforProfit.” 

Media watchdog group Media Matters for America — known for getting companies and organizations to pull their advertising from Fox News — also planned to put pressure on a new target, Facebook, The Information reported.

Facebook’s advertising revenue — almost all its total revenue for the year — was close to $70 billion in 2019.

Facebook has been under pressure since refusing to take down posts by President Donald Trump seen as misleading and aimed at disenfranchising Black voters and silencing Black voices.

In one post, Trump said mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud — an unsubstantiated claim that targets Black people and people of color. Experts say voter fraud is rare, according to FactCheck.org.

In another post, Trump used the words, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” suggesting George Floyd protesters could be shot. Facebook refused to take down the post. Hundreds of Facebook employees protested the company’s unwillingness remove “the incendiary rhetoric”.

Patagonia said Facebook failed to take steps to stop the spread on its platform of “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda,” Associated Press reported.

Scattered boycotts rarely amount to significant revenue losses for Facebook, Sara Fischer wrote for Axios. “This time, however, the threat of protests comes as the industry is already struggling due to the coronavirus-induced recession, with 2020 digital ad revenue now expected to come in billions below original estimates.”