Patagonia is the latest company to boycott Facebook over 'hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform'

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Patagonia is the latest company to boycott Facebook over 'hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform'
REUTERS/Erin Scott
  • Patagonia is the latest major brand to boycott Facebook, joining a coalition led by civil rights groups protesting Facebook's policies on content moderation and hate speech.
  • The company announced Sunday that it will pull all ads from Facebook and Instagram through the end of July, "pending meaningful action" from Facebook.
  • Facebook has drawn backlash for its refusal to fact-check or remove Donald Trump's posts that contain false statements or phrases like "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," as well as broader concerns that misinformation runs rampant on the platform.
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Patagonia is halting its Facebook ads, joining a boycott led by civil rights groups and progressive activists to protest Facebook's approach to content moderation and hate speech on the platform.

"For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform," Patagonia's head of marketing, Cory Bayers, said in a series of tweets Sunday.

The boycott campaign, called "Stop Hate for Profit," is led by the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, and other activist groups who say Facebook enables hate speech and misinformation on its platform. Patagonia joins competing apparel brand The North Face in the Facebook boycott, as well as smaller companies like meditation app Talkspace and payment company Fons.

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Facebook has policies against misinformation and hate speech, but has faced blowback for unevenly enforcing the policies — especially when it comes to President Donald Trump's posts that contain misinformation or appear to incite violence. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook's refusal to remove Trump's posts that may break its rules — like Trump's post containing the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — arguing that public figures' posts should be "scrutinized out in the open."

Facebook VP of global business group Carolyn Everson said in a statement to Business Insider that Facebook wants to work with brands to be a "force for good."

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"We deeply respect any brand's decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good," Everson said.

Advertisers say the growing boycott is evidence that brands see consumer opinion turning against some of Facebook's policies. Elijah Harris, the senior vice president of paid social at Interpublic Group's IPG Mediabrands, told Business Insider last week that the boycott is "brand safety, not political activism."

"Pulling money out isn't meant to be a punitive action towards Facebook," Harris told Business Insider. "It's more for us to assess, as marketers and arbiters of our brands' equity, whether we should continue defaulting to a platform that stands in opposition to consumer sentiment today."

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