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Ben & Jerry’s Becomes Latest Company to Boycott Facebook Advertising For Allegedly Promoting Misinformation, Hate

Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images

Ben & Jerry’s became the latest company to end paid advertising on Facebook, accusing the platform of willingness to “divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy.”

In the last week, North Face, REI, Upwork, Patagonia, and other smaller brands announced boycotts of Facebook over misinformation and hate speech.

Their decisions were sparked by the “Stop Hate For Profit” campaign, created by Color for Change with other nonprofit partners. Its website calls out Facebook for promoting several right-wing news sources, like naming Breitbart News “a trusted news source” and allowing The Daily Caller to be a “fact-checker.” The campaign also accuses the platform of inciting violence against protesters following the death of George Floyd.

“Let’s send Facebook a powerful message,” the campaign reads. “Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

On Friday, North Face became the first big brand to halt advertising on the platform. It would return when “stricter policies are put in place to stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on the platform,” the company said in a statement. The outdoor apparel brand also extended their demands to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

REI, another outdoor apparel store, followed suit, writing, “For 82 years, we have put people over profits.”

On Sunday, Patagonia said “the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred” before pulling their Facebook campaign, too.

After several brands pulled their advertising, Facebook said, “We’re taking steps to review our policies, ensure diversity and transparency when making decisions on how we apply our policies, and advance racial justice and voter engagement on our platform” in a lengthy statement in response to the campaign.

Ben & Jerry’s became one of the first companies outside of clothing brands to do the same on Tuesday. The ice cream manufacturer, with deep roots in political activism, has been outspoken since nationwide protests began in May. Co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen were arrested in June for protesting on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. In response, the company released a statement entitled “we must dismantle white supremacy.”

Facebook generated almost $70 billion in advertising revenue in 2019. Ben & Jerry’s will stop advertising on the platform beginning July 1, it announced.

“We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” said Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president for global marketing solutions.

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