Three major retail brands, North Face, Patagonia and REI are putting an end to spending money advertising on Facebook and Instagram effective immediately.
Patagonia is the latest of the three to announce that it won’t be spending its ad dollars on Facebook and its affiliated platform Instagram. The move came in response to growing pressure from civil rights organizations such the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP. The organizations recently launched a “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which calls on advertisers to use their power to hold Facebook accountable for not doing enough to prevent the spread of hate speech and encourages an ad boycott through the end of July.
“For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform,” Patagonia noted in a series of tweets. “From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred,” the company said. “As companies across the country work hard to ensure that Americans have access to free and fair elections this fall, we can’t stand by and contribute resources to companies that contribute to the problem.”
North Face, meanwhile, issued a statement to USA Today saying that the company was pausing its domestic paid advertising campaigns over the two platforms in hopes that Facebook will improve its policies against racist, violent and hateful speed and reconsider its policies in the next 30 days.
Outdoor gear retailer REI, which has long been known for taking a stand on social issues, joined the #StopHateforProfit on Friday, tweeting: “For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.”
In response to the boycott, Facebook’s VP of Global Business Carolyn Everson issued a statement on Monday. “We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” she said. “Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”
While it remains to be seen whether other retailers will step in and join the three companies, Facebook has for years drawn ire for years for not regulating presence of hate speech and fake news on its platform. The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently made an appearance on Fox News and called out Twitter for censoring President Trump’s tweets and said that social media platforms shouldn’t be playing the “arbiter of truth.”