Social media outlets have long faced criticism from the right for their apparent censorship of conservative and support of liberal viewpoints. But, now, at least one social media giant is facing criticism from the left, and it has already led to some action.
Fox News reports that the apparel company North Face has made the decision to pull all of its ads from Facebook in response to the criticism of the website’s policies.
What’s going on?
This week, several groups – including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense – have started a campaign that is being referred to as the #StopHateforProfit campaign.
“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy…” said NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson.
AP News reports, “The groups say that Facebook amplifies white supremacists, allows posts that incite violence and contain political propaganda and misinformation, and doesn’t stop ‘bad actors using the platform to do harm.”
Accordingly, the groups, want to “stop generating ad revenue from hateful content, provide more support to people who are targets of racism and hate, and to increase safety for private groups on the platform,” according to AP News.
A lot of this, although it is directed toward Facebook, is actually targeting President Donald Trump. Critics, including the groups in the new campaign, have called out Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for leaving up some of the president’s posts which they consider to be unacceptable.
One recent example is when Trump said “when the looting starts the shooting start,” after some of the riots and looting that has taken place over the death of George Floyd. As opposed to Twitter, Facebook decided to let the president’s words stay, and Zuckerberg explained why.
“I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies,” Zuckerberg said.
In contrast, Facebook recently decided to take down a Trump 2020 advertisement in which voters were asked to sign a petition opposing Antifa with a red, upside-down triangle symbol in the background. The reason for this appears to be that the symbol has ties to fascist as well as antifa symbolism.
What does the future hold?
In response to this new campaign, North Face has decided to pull their advertisements, tweeting, “We’re out.” Is this a sign of things to come, or will Facebook change its policy?
With the rising tensions over social media policies, something, at some point, is going to have to give. Whether that means there is some new legislation addressing social media outlets, or there is a court case regarding their policies, we’ll have to see.