Why We Back #StopHateForProfit

Nick Lowles - 13 07 20

If the battle against the far right was waged at the ballot box in the 1990s and 2000s, and on the streets during the 2000s and some of the 2010s then today’s field of play is certainly online. Through social media sites that are used by billions of people worldwide, and smaller and more private messaging sites, the far right is able to promote their hate and misinformation and organise and recruit to their ranks. 

This internationalisation of the far right project is one HOPE not hate has warned about for years. Far right activists can share content across the globe with a click of a button and create conspiracy theories and disinformation that divides communities and fractures society. It continues to be clear that companies like Facebook aren’t simply not cracking down on this, they are profiting from it too.

That’s why we are backing the coalition of organisations calling for businesses to pause advertising for the month of July on Facebook and Instagram to force Facebook to take concrete action. Facebook has done some work to adopt better policies against hate speech – kicking Tommy Robinson off the platform in the process. But so much more needs to be done, urgently.  The company needs better structures and processes internally, transparently audited. They must improve their speed and accuracy at removing hateful content, particularly in private groups, and support victims of hate and harassment on their platforms. They must treat the staff they recruit to moderate content on the platform much, much better – with more support, better pay, and improved conditions.

99% of Facebook’s $70 billion company is made from advertising and every pound, dollar or euro taken out of their profits by businesses who won’t allow their adverts to sit next to hateful content, helps to wake Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook up to the fact that no longer will society allow them to profit from hate. We know this is an uphill struggle, Facebook’s advertising revenue is vast, and even the biggest corporation’s ad spending is just a drop in the ocean. Many of these companies are of course acting out of their own self-interest and to protect their brand reputation, but they are doing so because their customers, people like you and me, know that this content is divisive and has no place in our shared space. Facebook is getting this wrong – we can value free speech and also tell people peddling hate they have no right to do this wherever they please. We should send a clear message that they are not welcome here.

Ask your workplaces to join this growing movement and as consumers of Facebook and Instagram, you can make an impact too by demanding Facebook’s advertisers stop supporting online hate by signing this petition: https://www.stophateforprofit.org/demand-change


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