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The outdoor gear company Patagonia is the latest company to announce an advertising boycott of Facebook and its Instagram app for the month of July — or longer — saying the social media giant has failed to take steps to stop the spread on its platform of “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda.”
Patagonia joins The North Face and the outdoor gear company REI, which have announced similar boycotts in recent days. It is not clear how much the boycotts will affect Facebook’s advertising revenue, which was nearly $70 billion in 2019, making up nearly all of its total revenue for the year.
Patagonia, which is based in Ventura, California, spent nearly $1 million on ads about social issues or politics between May 2018 and June 2020, according to Facebook’s ad library. The ads got the “social issues” moniker because they were about environmental issues.
“We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” said Carolyn Everson, vp of Facebook’s global business group, in a statement.
Last week, civil rights groups called on large advertisers to stop Facebook ad campaigns during July, saying the social network isn’t doing enough to curtail racist and violent content on its platform.
The groups in the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign, launched Wednesday, include Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.
The groups say Facebook amplifies white supremacists, allows posts that incite violence and contain political propaganda and misinformation, and doesn’t stop “bad actors using the platform to do harm.”
The big tech companies have struggled over how to manage the floods of posts and videos that users put on their platforms every day. Facebook has been under fire for deciding to leave up posts by President Donald Trump that suggested police-brutality protesters in Minneapolis could be shot.
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