Mark Zuckerberg to Meet #StopHateForProfit Organizers as Facebook Ad Boycott Nears 1,000 Companies

Courtesy of REUTERS/ Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The social media giant's CEO, as well as COO Sheryl Sandberg and CPO Chris Cox, are set to have a virtual meeting with three civil rights groups Tuesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and chief product officer Chris Cox are set to meet the leaders of three civil rights groups that are behind the ad boycott of the company and its subsidiary Instagram on Tuesday, as the number of companies signed up to the #StopHateForProfit campaign nears 1,000.  

Zuckerberg, Sandberg and Cox will have a virtual meeting with Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson and NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson. No details of what will be discussed at the meeting have been released ahead of time, but the #StopHateForProfit campaign has a comprehensive set of demands on its website, among them adding civil rights experts to Facebook's executive management, transparency reports created by independent third parties and pushing the social media giant to "find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism."

The meeting comes as almost 1,000 companies have pledged to or already have suspended advertising on Facebook and Instagram. After outdoor clothing companies The North Face, Patagonia, Arc'teryx and REI kickstarted the campaign, corporate giants including Ford, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Adidas, Starbucks, Diageo, Vans, Levi's, Ben & Jerry's, HP, Magnolia Pictures, Hershey's, Blue Bottle Coffee, Pfizer, Mozilla, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Honda and Unilever are among the big blue-chip names to have joined the boycott.

The #StopHateForProfit campaign was launched June 17, organized by the ADL, Color of Change and NAACP plus the Sleeping Giants, Free Press and Common Sense. The campaign called on companies to specifically suspend advertising on Facebook's platforms for the month of July but some companies have extended it to include Twitter and other social media companies and some have extended the dates of the boycott indefinitely. 

The latest companies to join the boycott include pharma giant Merck and Farm Aid, but, more worryingly for Facebook, international organizations are pledging to suspend their advertising, including the government of Quebec and the University of Nottingham and the University of Newcastle in the U.K. 

Facebook has refused to bow to demands and make systemic changes; instead the company said that it would flag all "newsworthy" posts from politicians and political groups that break its rules, including those from President Donald Trump as well as banning posts that discourage voting with false claims.

Last Friday, The Intercept reported that Zuckerberg told Facebook employees at a video town hall meeting that "all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough” and that he felt the boycott was more a "reputational and partner issue" rather than an economic one