Newcastle University joins the Stop Hate for Profit campaign

Alex Gervás sheds light on the University's advertising decision

Alex Gervas
8th July 2020
Image: Stop Hate for Profit
Newcastle University have announced its participation in a Facebook advert boycott.

On 8 July, Newcastle University joined the campaign Stop Hate for Profit. As such, it will pause all paid content and advertising on Facebook and Instagram during July.

A Newcastle University spokesperson said “In line with our core values around equality, diversity and inclusion, we feel it is essential to demonstrate our support for this international campaign to bring about long-term change to address online hate and extremism.”

The campaign was announced on 17 June by organisations including ADL, Color of Change, Common Sense and Free Press. This coalition intends to denounce Facebook platforms for the perpetuation of hateful discourses by encouraging businesses to stop advertising for a month.

The organisation have said “Large groups dedicated to hating and violent conspiracies grow unchecked, and Facebook often recommends users join these groups.”

“Political ads contain bald-faced lies and even outright voter suppression. Misinformation and conspiracies on COVID-19, vaccines, climate change and the Holocaust are considered matters of debate. Victims of online harassment are left with virtually no support. Businesses’ ads are run alongside hateful content.”

Companies partaking in the boycott include Ben & Jerry's, Coca-Cola, Honda, Levi's, Microsoft and Starbucks

The companies partaking in the ad boycott include: Acura, Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Blue Bottle Coffee, Blue Shield of California, Body Shop, Campbell Soup, Chobani, Clif Bar, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Conagra, Consumer Reports, CVS, Denny’s, Dockers, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eddie Bauer, Eileen Fisher, Ford, Fossil, Hershey, Honda, HP, Intercontinental Hotels, J.M. Smucker, JanSport, Kay Jewelers, Kind Snacks, Lego, Levi’s, Lululemon, Magnolia Pictures, Mars, Merck, Merrell, Microsoft, Molson Coors, Mozilla, North Face, Patagonia, Pepsi, Pete’s Coffee, Pfizer, Puma, Reebok, REI, Samuel Adams, SAP, Schwinn, Sesame Workshop, Siemens, Six Flags, SodaStream, Starbucks, Target, Truly, Unilever, Vans, Verizon, Volkswagen, White Castle and Zales.

Mark Zuckerberg’s platforms’ primary source of revenue comes from business advertisements. In 2019, the company made close to $70 billion on ad revenue alone.

But Wall Street analysts say that the month-long boycott will only affect Facebook’s revenue by 5%. According to Forbes: “In a scenario where the company loses business from its top 100 advertisers, that would only be around a $1 billion hit to revenue per month, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak estimates.”

Facebook's global marketing solutions vice president has promised to do more to stop hate speech

Carolyn Everson - Facebook's global marketing solutions vice president - put out a statement promising to improve the measures in place against hate speech and inaccurate information. Everson defends that Facebook removes three million posts featuring hate speech, 90% of which are removed before they are reported.

Everson emphasised the company’s zero-tolerance policy for hate, saying: “I could not have spent the last ten years of my career here if I didn’t believe we cared about this.” She later added “I am listening and I am learning, from civil rights groups, clients, and customers. Even though their criticism hurts, if it makes Facebook better – it if makes the world better – then we all will be better for having gone through this.”

Featured Image: Stop Hate for Profit

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