Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sacha Baron Cohen are among the celebrities leading a charge to boycott Facebook and Instagram for a day as part of the ongoing #StopHateForProfit campaign. But is a one-day boycott really sending a message that a monthslong boycott by high-paying advertisers hasn't?
"I love that I can connect directly with you through Instagram and Facebook, but I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation — created by groups to sow division and split America apart – only to take steps after people are killed," Kardashian West wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. "Misinformation shared on social media has a serious impact on our elections and undermines our democracy."
In addition to freezing her own accounts and calling for others to follow suit, Kardashian West also froze the accounts of her SKIMS shapewear line on Facebook and Instagram as well.
"Facebook claims they address hate, yet they continue to look the other way as racist, violent groups and posts sow division and split America apart – only taking steps after people are killed," writes actor Marc Ruffalo, working from the same talking points.
Some on Twitter are noting that the celebrity boycott may have had some impact on Facebook's stock price today, but tech stocks have been getting hammered for a couple of weeks now — and Facebook's share price began its fall on September 3.
One of those is Ruffalo, who added, "Anyway. It's not going to be just one day."
The #StopHateForProfit campaign dates back to June, when over 100 advertisers including big players like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble saw it as politically unwise to keep spending money on a platform. A subsequent meeting in July between Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and the organizers of the boycott didn't go so well — with the organizers saying their demands for greater civil rights and hate speech oversight on the platform were met with the "same old talking points to try to placate us."
While the celebrity boycott's impact is "likely to minimal," as KQED writes, it's nonetheless another development in the ongoing campaign by the NAACP, original organizers Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League to continue drawing attention to Facebook's lack of serious policy changes when it comes to voting rights, civil rights, misinformation, hate groups, and incitements to violence.
Facebook only recently instituted a policy banning content connected to the asinine QAnon conspiracy theory, and in recent weeks the company was called out for leaving up a page for the "Kenosha Guard" militia group that helped incite the violence that left two protesters dead in Wisconsin.
In a clearly weak move two weeks ago, Facebook said it would be "restricting" political ads in the final week before the election this November, but it isn't banning political advertising altogether as Twitter decided to do last year. Facebook's continued permissiveness with political advertising and misleading messages from Trump has been championed by "free speech" advocates on the right, but derided by those on the left who have seen Republicans and the Trump campaign use Facebook to spread lies that include statements meant to discourage mail-in voting and encourage distrust in the electoral process.
A one-day celebrity boycott is for sure not going to undo the damage there.
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