A number of confectionery companies have pulled their advertising from Facebook and its platforms as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign. We wanted to take a moment to applaud them for doing so.
Based on what we could find, the following confectionery and snack companies are among the more than 500 companies pulling their ads:
- Clif Bar
- Red Vines
- Theo Chocolate
We mean this in the most sincere way possible: Thank you for taking a stand.
For those unfamiliar, the movement is asking for corporations to put pressure on Facebook by pulling all of their July advertising. Specifically, it’s calling for more accountability for the hate speech that is allowed to spread on Facebook and Facebook-owed Instagram.
As the website for #StopHateForProfit explains:
“Social media has allowed hate and extremism to spread faster and further than ever before, which causes real harm to real people. Every day, our organizations are alerted to numerous examples of hate and misinformation across Facebook's products, which are supported by paid advertisements. To stop supporting online hate, a broad coalition including ADL, Color of Change, Common Sense, Free Press, LULAC, Mozilla, the NAACP, National Hispanic Media Coalition and Sleeping Giants joined together in solidarity with targets of racism, antisemitism and hate. Together, we are urging advertisers to stop supporting hate and extremism on Facebook.”
The #StopHateForProfit website, which includes a list or recommended next steps, also points out that “99 percent of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising.”
“Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”
On July 7, Red Vines posted this message on its Facebook, explaining its decision to pull its ads:
“We've been asked why we're not as visible on Facebook and Instagram right now. Due to the lack of response from these social platforms to change policy to combat hate speech, we've canceled all of our advertising spend for the month of July. We stand in solidarity with others who are boycotting these platforms to support positive change. We will be sharing only messages of inspiration, kindness and inclusivity through our peace, love and vines message.”
While most companies are specifically targeting Facebbok and its platforms, Mars has gone a step further, also pulling ads from Snapchat and Twitter.
In a statement, Mars said:
“Social media platforms play an important role in society but equally, they have a powerful role to play in stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
There is no room for discrimination in a healthy society. Mars has a responsibility and an opportunity to make a meaningful and measurable difference in the fight against racism, hate, violence and discrimination – we expect all of the social media platform partners we work with to do the same.”
Again, we agree.
It can be tempting to dismiss what happens on social media as “not real life" but that would be a mistake.
If social media didn't have any impact on the “real world,” companies wouldn’t spend money to put their advertising messages on it. It’s very clear that what people post on the platforms matters to all of us.
Advertising has evolved so quickly over the last decade that it needs to take a second to breathe and evaluate where it’s landed. When I started in journalism in the mid-2000s, advertisers could easily monitor the types of content they were supporting. For example, if a TV show was too risque and showed too much nudity, they could simply refuse to support it so that consumers didn’t associate the brand with the show.
But a lot has changed in the last 15 years. Now, most companies also advertise on social media, where the advertising model is not set up that way. Now companies purchase space on the platform, rather than space within content. And frankly, it’s become impossible for any company to monitor every piece of content it's associated with.
This had the potential to be a good thing for free speech — without corporations monitoring the conversation, there was a hope that it would allow a more diverse group of voices to be heard.
But unfortunately, even if that has happened, it’s also helped elevate and support hate speech.
The #StopHateForProfit website lays it out like this:
“We know what Facebook did.
They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.
They named Breitbart News a 'trusted news source' and made The Daily Caller a 'fact checker' despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists.
They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform.
Could they protect and support Black users? Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote?
They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.
It’s encouraging to see companies stand up for what they believe, while putting real weight behind their choices. I’m hopeful that things may actually start to change — and that’s a hope we all could use right now.
Full company statements:
Below is a look at the full statements from the confectionery and snack companies participating in the boycott.
This list was created based on the information available to us. If you know of any other confectionery or snack companies participating in this boycott please feel free to email me at lindellc@bnpmedia, and we will update this list as new information becomes available.
In a June 30 Facebook statement, the company said:
"At Clif Bar & Company, we believe in building strong communities where people feel safe, respected, and valued for who they are. Facebook hasn’t done enough to curb racist hate speech in their community, so we will be joining Color Of Change the NAACP and ADL - Anti-Defamation League to boycott Facebook and Instagram paid advertising in July. #stophateforprofit"
In a July 1 Facebook statement, the company said:
"We're taking a break!
In an effort to make a difference and be part of a positive change, we will be pausing all paid advertising for the month of July on Facebook and Instagram.
We miss you already!"
In a corporate statement, Mars said:
"Social media platforms play an important role in society but equally, they have a powerful role to play in stopping the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
There is no room for discrimination in a healthy society. Mars has a responsibility and an opportunity to make a meaningful and measurable difference in the fight against racism, hate, violence and discrimination – we expect all of the social media platform partners we work with to do the same.
We are committed to doing our part to accelerate the pace of progress in creating a safe and fair experience for everyone.
Starting in July, we will pause paid advertising globally across news feed based social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. We will work with our partners until we are clear of progress and timebound actions taken by these platforms. This includes:
Auditing transparency and reporting on the effectiveness of brand safety measures these platforms already have in place.
Giving consumers a safer experience by monitoring content and enforcing community standards that address hate speech and misinformation.
Controlling the placement of advertising content next to sensitive and/or inappropriate content.
Improving reporting and data to enable marketers like Mars to better control where our advertising is placed online.
Showing meaningful progress against the key demands of the #StopHateforProfit campaign
During this time, we will work with these platforms to agree on clear, meaningful actions that create a roadmap for change, through our partnership with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). We are confident that working with our agencies, industry and social media partners we can make meaningful change."
On July 7, Red Vines, which is owned by American Licorice company, posted this message on its Facebook:
"We've been asked why we're not as visible on Facebook and Instagram right now. Due to the lack of response from these social platforms to change policy to combat hate speech, we've canceled all of our advertising spend for the month of July. We stand in solidarity with others who are boycotting these platforms to support positive change. We will be sharing only messages of inspiration, kindness and inclusivity through our peace, love and vines message."
On July 1 Theo Chocolate posted this on Facebook:
Theo Chocolate stands with the NAACP, Color Of Change and the ADL - Anti-Defamation League by joining the #StopHateforProfit campaign. By joining, we are calling on Facebook to address racism across their platforms and will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram throughout the month of July.
As a small business, we rely on these ad platforms to help bring delicious chocolate to more people and support our social impact goals, but we believe that by joining we can help the fight against hate and systemic racism. While our advertising dollars may be small, we still believe that the stakes are too high.
While we won't be advertising, we're not going to be quiet. You'll still see us post organic, unpaid posts here to continue amplifying BIPOC content creators and bring you delicious chocolate news. And the best way to stay in-the-know about all things Theo is by signing up for our email list.