Facebook has released a statement in response to the advertiser boycott the company is facing. The statement lets users know that Facebook “does not benefit from hate”. Advertisers that have pulled their services included the likes of Verizon amongst many others.
Facebook cites that the world is currently divided and tensions are running high. Therefore, the company believes that Facebook’s job is to “hold a mirror up to society”. This all comes after Joe Biden called on the company to promote real news. Whilst the social media company claimed that it was its responsibility to post opinions even if it does not agree with them.
Facebook responds to an advertiser boycott
Facebook has been criticised for allowing controversial posts from President Trump to remain on its platform. However, Nick Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications wanted to make it clear that Facebook does on profit from this.
He pointed out that Facebook has an incentive to remove hateful posts. People do not want to see hateful content, however, Clegg said Facebook errs “on the side of free expression”. This is because he believes more speech is the best way to counteract hateful speech.
Facebook’s statement claims that the company invests billions of dollars to keep the platform safe. However, with so much content it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. The company claims it is making real progress on the issue but there is still a long way to go.
The recent European Commission report has found companies are doing a better job of rooting out hate speech. Facebook assessed 95.7% of hate speech reports in less than 24 hours. This was actually faster than Twitter and YouTube.
Facebook implore voters to register to vote
Many have been angry at Facebook’s refusal to remove the inflammatory remarks of President Trump. However, Facebook is telling its users to make their voices heard in the ballot box. This, the company says, is the ultimate way to hold the government to account.
Facebook has recently created a voting hub to help users register and provide them with accurate information on the election.
The statement ends by imploring users to think of the good things Facebook does. The company would rather focus on the work the company has done to connect people during the Covid-19 pandemic for example.
Engadget has reported that in response to the advertiser boycott, Facebook will meet with the civil rights groups behind it. The company will also likely submit to an audit of its hate-speech controls. This is the start of the process to rebuild trust with its advertisers.
Hopefully, Facebook is able to find a solution that suits everyone. Social media and freedom of speech is a story that will continue to run for some time. This has shown that companies are willing to put their money where their mouths are and make change where they see it needed.
Looking forward it will be interesting to see how the nature of social media will change in the months ahead. More and more focus will be placed on rooting out misinformation and hate speech. However, this will have to be balanced with companies’ responsibility to allow for free speech.