Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has said that it is pausing to advertise on Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FB) Facebook and Instagram because of how the company handles hate speech. The telecom giant will halt ads on the social media platforms until they can have control over posts spreading disinformation.
Verizon boycotts advertising on Facebook
The US carrier joined several companies that have decided to boycott Facebook because of its lax approach to hate speech and violence, disinformation, and harassment. So far, outdoor gear firms The North Face and Patagonia, as well as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand, are among the companies backing the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. The move by Verizon to boycott Facebook is a huge blow for Facebook that has been trying to manage the mounting revolt.
John Nitti, the company’s Chief Media Officer, stated that the company has firm content polices with zero tolerance, and once they are breached, the company has to take action. Nitti stated that the company was pausing advertising on Facebook until the company could come up with acceptable, comfortable solutions consistent with what Verizon has done with other partners such as YouTube.
Pressure grows on Facebook to contain hate speech and disinformation
Verizon is among Facebook’s large advertises that have pulled ads as pressure grows on the social media giant. The Stop Hate For Profit campaign was started by various civil rights groups such as Colour of Change and Anti-Defamation League. It encourages advertisers to halt ads to Facebook in July. In a letter to advertisers, the Anti-Defamation League indicated that it stumbled on a Verizon ad on the social media site next to an anti-Semitic rhetoric video from the QAnon group.
Facebook has been insisting that its policies are based on principles rather than business interests. The company has been engaging advertisers regarding recent initiatives of distribution of verified election content and voter registration. Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s Global business VP, stated that they respect every brand’s decision and are focused on removing hate speech.