July 13, 2024

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Verizon joins growing ad boycott against Facebook


Verizon has joined dozens of other brands in an advertising boycott of Facebook.

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon has joined a growing list of companies that has committed to pausing its ads purchasing on Facebook as part of a boycott aimed forcing the social networking giant to do more to remove abusive content from the social-networking giant’s platform.

The boycott began earlier this month when six civil rights groups called on businesses to stop advertising on Facebook in July to push the social network to do more to combat hate speech and misinformation. Outdoor-products seller, Recreational Equipment Inc., better known as REI, and outdoor-clothing brand The North Face have already announced their support for the boycott.

“Our brand safety standards have not changed,” a Verizon spokeswoman said in an email. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”¬†

Facebook said in response to Verizon’s move that it continues to work toward removing hate speech from its platform.

“We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information,” Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook’s Global Business Group, said in a statement. “Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Colors of Change, Free Press and Common Sense say that boycotting advertising on Facebook will put pressure on the platform to use its $70 billion in annual advertising revenue to support people who are targets of racism and hate and to increase safety for private groups on the site. 

Verizon’s move to join the boycott came after the ADL sent an open letter to advertisers urging them not to pause their ad activity on Facebook. The ADL says that nearly 100 brands have joined the boycott.

The rights groups say Facebook has allowed content that could incite violence against protesters who are fighting for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks. Facebook faced criticism for not removing a protest-related post by President Donald Trump that advocacy groups and even the company’s own employees said could incite violence.

Verizon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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