Responding to the growing boycott by advertisers on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has announced several changes to the social network's content and ad policies. Facebook will label newsworthy content that violates the social media company’s policies and ramp up efforts to block ads that spread hate and disinformation in society.
Zuckerberg said, “The platform will soon start labelling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society, but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies.”
He went on saying, “There is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting. Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that the content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down. Similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies.”
Facebook announced that it will ban ads that claim people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.
“We believe there is a public interest in allowing a wider range of free expression in people's posts than in paid ads. We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord. We're also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads, suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them,” Zuckerberg said.
More than 160 companies have decided to pull the plug on Facebook advertising globally. Some of the companies are Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Verizon. Facebook’s mishap is also impacting other social media platforms as many brands have decided to halt advertising for a month or two across social media networks.
The companies are stopping advertising on the platform to support the ‘#StopHateForProfit’ campaign that encourages brands to pause advertising spend on Facebook to up efforts against hate speech and disinformation.
The ad boycott campaign started when Facebook did not take any action on a post by US President Donald Trump, which referred to shooting protesters by invoking a phrase with a racist history.