Outdoors brand the North Face has joined a Facebook advertising boycott amid growing condemnation of the social media company’s management of misinformation.
The California-based clothing and equipment company said it would be pulling advertising from the social media site as part of a “pause” organised by a collection of US civil rights groups.
Its decision adds to growing pressure on Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to crack down on racism and incitement of violence on the social network.
Critics have blamed Facebook for the spread of conspiracy theories and false information surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as encouraging violence against Black Lives Matter protesters and allowing racist and dangerous groups to flourish.
The #StopHateforProfit campaign, launched earlier this week, asks members to pause advertising on Facebook and its sister app Instagram for the month of July.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), said: “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. We will not stand for this.”
The campaign was also joined by the Anti-Defamation League, which works against anti-Semitism, and Common Sense Media, which promotes children’s safety online.
The North Face was the first major brand to sign up and was later joined by fellow outdoor equipment business REI and freelancing platform Upwork. New York digital advertising agency 360i also urged clients to join the boycott.
A spokeswoman for Facebook said: “We deeply respect any brand’s decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information.”
Facebook’s employees have also been pushing the company to change its fact-checking and moderation policies, including its management of US President Donald Trump’s posts, staging a virtual walkout at the start of this month.
Rival social media firm Twitter has begun adding fact-checks or hiding misleading statements by the president, drawing his ire, but Facebook has not done the same with his posts on its platform, though following pressure Mr Zuckerberg said it would review its policies.
This week Facebook took down a Trump advertising campaign for violating its policies about “organised hate”. The campaign used a red upside-down triangle which was commonly used by Nazis to denote political prisoners.
The Trump campaign said it was supposed to symbolise Antifa, the left-wing collective that he has repeatedly blamed for recent unrest across the US.