The leaders behind a campaign to boycott Facebook ads until the company curbs hate speech and extremism on its platforms had harsh words for CEO Mark Zuckerberg after they met with Facebook executives on Tuesday. According to the civil-rights groups behind the boycott, the disappointing meeting did not yield any significant concessions from the social media giant.
“Zuckerberg offered the same old defense of white supremacist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other hateful groups on Facebook that (we) have heard too many times before,” the coalition said in a sharply-worded statement.
“We expected in the call today that we would have some clarity, that we would have some details and that we would have results,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told reporters. “Unfortunately, we got no details, no clarity and no results.”
The ongoing campaign, called Stop Hate for Profit, has created a coalition of hundreds of advertisers to that will avoid advertising on Facebook’s platforms for at least the month of July, to try and pressure the company into taking responsibility for hate speech and calls to violence on its sites. But according to NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, the company agreed to none of the group’s 10 public demands, which included independent audits, removal of hateful groups, and refunds for companies whose ads appear next to hate speech.
“We should expect more from a company like Facebook,” Johnson said.
Given that Facebook’s ad business is centered mostly around a large number of smaller advertisers, and isn’t focused on a few big companies like some of the ones lending their support to the campaign, it’s likely that this boycott is a relatively small financial setback for the company.
However, particularly amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, a brighter spotlight on Facebook’s hate speech policies could still negatively affect its public image, and in a statement, Facebook attempted to affirm that the coalition and the company have the same goals.
“This meeting was an opportunity for us to hear from the campaign organizers and reaffirm our commitment to combating hate on our platform,” Facebook said. “They want Facebook to be free of hate speech and so do we. That’s why it’s so important that we work to get this right.”
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