Candler Joins Ad Boycott Over Facebook’s Lax Stance on Misinformation, Hate Speech

July 6, 2020

Candler School of Theology is participating in the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which calls on companies to pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July.

The goal of the campaign is to put pressure on Facebook, owner of Facebook and Instagram, to more seriously curb misinformation, hate speech, and racism on social media. To date, nearly 200 companies have made the decision to halt advertising on Facebook’s platforms for at least a month, including such major brands as The Coca Cola Company, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, Ford, Honda, Patagonia, Unilever and Verizon. Some organizations are joining the campaign and others are independently pausing social media advertising.

According to the campaign, Facebook makes 99% of its $70 billion in revenue off of advertising, a key reason for pulling ad buys to apply pressure to the social media giant. The website also outlines recommended steps Facebook could take to be more effective in preventing the spread of misinformation, hate, and racist and extremist ideologies.

Candler has spent just over $7,000 on Facebook advertising since August of 2019. That amount is substantially less than Unilever’s annual $42.4 million or Hershey’s $36.5 million, but Candler’s dean says that participating in the campaign is important from a moral leadership perspective, regardless of the school’s spending power as an advertiser.

“Facebook is a major player in our world today, and we at Candler feel compelled to join this effort to encourage it to be a force for good rather than an indifferent observer at best or an ally to extremist groups at worst,” says Dean Jan Love. “It is our hope that this month-long boycott will convince Facebook to work harder to combat harmful and false messages that damage individuals and society at large.”

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was created by a group of organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mozilla, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the NAACP and Sleeping Giants.