Patagonia, North Face join Facebook ad boycott over hate, misinformation on platform

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Monday, June 22, 2020
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Patagonia, The North Face and REI are among a growing list of companies joining a Facebook ad boycott demanding that the social network do more to curtail racist and violent content on its platform.

The retailers are lining up behind the #StopHateforProfit campaign backed by a variety of advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

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." They want to apply public pressure on Facebook 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."

"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. Such actions will upend the integrity of our elections as we head into 2020," NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement last week when the campaign launched.

SEE ALSO: Uncle Ben's joins Aunt Jemima in brand overhaul amid concerns about racial stereotyping

Pepsico is changing the name and images associated with its Aunt Jemima brand, acknowledging its racist origins.

The campaign's organizers say the majority of Facebook's income is generated through advertising. They have compiled a list of recommendations to help Facebook address their concerns.

"From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred," Cory Bayers, Patagonia's head of marketing, said in a tweet announcing the company's decision to join the campaign.

REI said it was pulling advertising not only from Facebook but also from Instagram, which Facebook acquired in 2012.

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment from the Associated Press when the campaign launched on June 17.

Tech companies have struggled over how to manage the floods of posts and videos that users put on their platforms every day. Facebook's employees recently publicly criticized Zuckerberg for deciding to leave up posts by President Donald Trump that suggested police-brutality protesters in Minneapolis could be shot.

As it faces criticism for its policy of allowing politicians to post false information, including about voting, the company is launching an effort to boost U.S. voter turnout.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.