By Sheila Dang
(Reuters) – Organizers of a Facebook advertising boycott campaign that has garnered support from a growing number of large companies are now gearing up to expand action globally to increase pressure on the social media company to remove hate speech.
The “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign will begin asking Europe’s big companies to join the boycott, Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, said in an interview with Reuters on Saturday. Since the campaign was launched this month, more than 160 companies, including Verizon and Unilever, have pledged to stop buying ads on the world’s largest social media platform in July.
Free Press and Common Sense, along with US civil rights groups Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the campaign after the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who was murdered by the Minneapolis police.
“The next frontier is global pressure,” said Steyer, adding that the campaign hopes to encourage regulators in Europe to take a tougher stance on Facebook. The European Commission announced in June new guidelines for technology companies, including Facebook, to send monthly reports on how they are dealing with the flow of misinformation about the coronavirus.
The global campaign will continue as organizers continue to ask for more U.S. companies to participate. Jessica Gonzalez, co-executive director of Free Press, said she has contacted major US telecommunications and media companies to ask them to participate in the campaign.
Responding to demands for more action, Facebook acknowledged on Sunday that it has a lot to do and is teaming up with civil rights groups and experts to develop more tools to combat hate speech. Facebook said its investments in artificial intelligence already allow it to find 90% of hate speech before users report it.