Facebook to tag ‘harmful’ posts as boycott widens

Facebook to tag ‘harmful’ posts as boycott widens

Still, while Facebook has largely avoided explicit Twitter-style hounding of "wrong" political opinions so far, the social-media platform has been frequently accused of censorship.

Initially, numerous participants in the boycott were small advertising companies that make up most of Facebook's advertisers, but recently some big named have joined too. The company, which is one of the world's biggest marketing spenders, cited a need to end divisiveness and hate speech during a polarized election season.

In a statement on Friday the company, which owns ice cream firm Ben & Jerry's, said it was not going to advertise with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States until at least the end of the year.

"Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society", the company said in a statement. "We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary", the statement added. When Trump posted the same messages on Facebook, the social network did nothing, saying the posts did not break its rules.

Facebook is also going to take additional steps to restrict hate speech in advertising.

On Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement that the platform will provide "authoritative information on voting during the pandemic". "The policies that we're implementing today are created to address the reality and the challenges that our country is facing and how these challenges are showing up across our platform and our community".

He said the firm would ban ads that describe different cultural or racial groups as a threat. "But I also stand against hate or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we're committed to removing that content too, no matter where it comes from".

"Specifically, we're expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others", Zuckerberg wrote. "Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms".

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He indicated he had met directly with Wallace, whose team was allowed to inspect his vehicle after the incident. More race auto drivers and racing journalists showed their support for Wallace.

The social media giant also announced that it will soon "start labeling some of the content" the platform does not remove because it is deemed newsworthy, such as speeches from politicians.

During the Q&A with employees, Mr Zuckerberg went a step further.

Why are companies boycotting Facebook?

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started by USA civil rights groups after the death of George Floyd in May while in police custody. Facebook brought in almost $70 billion in advertising revenue previous year.

"The campaign is a response to Facebook's long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform", the groups said in a joint statement. For example, on Thursday the Anti-Defamation League disseminated an open letter that noted how the ADL "found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric, warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts". Verizon's Chief Media Office John Nitti said, "We have strict content policies in place and have zero-tolerance when they are breached, we take action".

Rashad Robinson, Color of Change's president, described Zuckerberg's announcement as "11 minutes of wasted opportunity to commit to change" and renewed his call to advertisers to pull their money from the platform.

Why it matters: This is Facebook's attempt to thread the needle between allowing inflammatory posts from politicians and tamping down on problematic content.

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