Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

First: Ben and Jerry's. Now: Hap and Jerry's.

Newsmakers announces we've hereby become the latest, ahem, global brand to halt our advertising on Facebook for at least a month, effective July 

In doing so, we're following the lead of a growing list of companies, including the iconic Vermont ice cream makers Ben and Jerry's, to protest the social media giant's enabling and empowerment of hate speech, misinformation and (real) fake news.

With a monthly FB ad budget in the, um, low-to-mid three figures, Newsmakers is all but certain that the withdrawal of our spending will become the tipping point in the campaign -- as we follow on the previously announced departures of Coca Cola, Hershey, Honda, Microsoft, North Face, Patagonia, REI, Starbucks, Unilever, Verizon and others who have answered the call from civil rights organizations to put pressure on Mark Zuckerberg in the only place he seems to care about: his fat wallet.

The national campaign

Organized as Stop Hate for Profit, the ad hoc coalition of groups -- including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Color of Change, LULAC, Free Press and others -- announced the FB ad boycott last month, as they called for a 10-item list of policy changes.

These include expanded transparency, independent content audits and changing logarithm processes that currently encourage and benefit individuals and groups "focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism."

Said the group:

"We are asking all business to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook's services in July."

Noting that Facebook collected $70 billion in revenue last year -- 99 percent of it from advertising -- the alliance said:

"What would you do with $70 billion? 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.

"99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising.

"Who will advertisers stand with?

"Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence."

The local angle

Strange but true, Newsmakers has routinely relied on Facebook advertising to spread the word since we launched our multi-media local news, analysis and commentary platform in 2017.

In highlighting and joining the business boycott of Facebook, we're also asking you to please liberate us from the need to do so in the future -- by signing up for a free email subscription that will alert you whenever we publish a new post or upload a new show..

Always free, Newsmakers is a labor of love started by two geezers with the goal of using our journalism and media skills to contribute to Santa Barbara's community conversation about politics and public policy.

In less than three years Newsmakers has become a distinctive local voice that offers high quality content through our regular blog posts, online videos, TVSB programming and podcasts broadcast on KCSB, as well as periodic appearances in the Indy, Edhat and Voice Magazine, thanks to a little help from our friends, along with dissemination on social media.

Starting from scratch, we've built a small but steadily growing audience of people who care about the complex and confounding issues that confront Santa Barbara -- civic-minded individuals, community advocates, decision makers, educators, elected officials, political players and staffers, and neighbors throughout the Central Coast and California.

What you can do

As we approach some milestones in growing our audience -- of which more in coming weeks -- please forward this to your friends who might be interested in a free subscription to Newsmakers and suggest they sign up, too.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll never have to send money to Zuckerberg again.

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Show Comments
a-1593645322 Jul 01, 2020 04:15 PM
Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

I certainly support anything that can bring Zuckerberg to heel but I doubt the boycott by "Newsmakers" will have much to do with that. I suppose this piece is meant to be tongue in cheek. OK, but it does seem a bit presumptuous.

a-1593655482 Jul 01, 2020 07:04 PM
Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

Newsmakers is thought-provoking commentary by local reporters and political junkies on S. B. issues. Not for everyone, but great if you want to hear from Nick Welsh, Josh Molina, Delaney Smith, and others with insights behind the news. Hosted by Jerry Roberts, well known journalists and "featured' in Citizen McCaw.

a-1593662510 Jul 01, 2020 09:01 PM
Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

Facebook does some weird stuff. Yesterday they blocked the iconic Marvin Gaye tune, "What's Going On." from being shared, because it violated "community values". Meanwhile they allow sharing of hateful and untrue articles from dubious sources.(Unless you complain, they sometimes take them down). Boycotts can work if large enough. FB users can also block all ads.

mp805 Jul 01, 2020 09:26 PM
Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

Jerry - serious question, what percentage increase of engagement did you see when a post was boosted on Facebook?

Mr. Spleen Jul 02, 2020 08:37 AM
Newsmakers Joins Facebook Ad Boycott

Really varies by topic, who's targeted, how long the boost runs, etc. Converting FB engagements into free email subscriptions has been a challenge, even with most popular posts, hence our attempt to use marketing ju-jitsu -- trying to convert Not Advertising into new subs. Thanks for reading.

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