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Ben & Jerry’s joins Facebook ad boycott organized by civil rights groups – CNET

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Facebook is facing an ad boycott from major retailing brands.

Angela Lang/CNET

Ben & Jerry’s has become the latest company to join an advertising boycott against Facebook, saying it stands with groups and other companies calling on the social network to do more to remove abusive content from the social-networking giant’s platform

The boycott, which also applies to ads placed on Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram, begins on July 1, the ice cream brand said in a statement Tuesday.

“Ben & Jerry’s stands with our friends at the NAACP and Color of Change, the ADL and all those calling for Facebook to take stronger action to stop its platforms from being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence and undermine our democracy,” the company said. 

“Facebook, Inc. must take the clear and unequivocal actions to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate,” the company added.

The boycott began earlier this month when six civil rights groups called on businesses to stop advertising on Facebook in July to push the social network to do more to combat hate speech and misinformation. Outdoor-products seller, Recreational Equipment Inc., better known as REI, and outdoor-clothing brand The North Face have already announced their support for the boycott.

The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Colors of Change, Free Press and Common Sense say that boycotting advertising on Facebook will put pressure on the platform to use its $70 billion in annual advertising revenue to support people who are targets of racism and hate and to increase safety for private groups on the site. 

More than 55% of Facebook users reported experiencing hate and harassment on the platform, according to the ADL’s survey of Americans using social media.

The rights groups say Facebook has allowed content that could incite violence against protesters who are fighting for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks. Facebook faced criticism for not removing a protest-related post by President Donald Trump that advocacy groups and even the company’s own employees said could incite violence.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but said in a blog post Tuesday it’s making progress in reducing hate speech on its platform. Facebook cited a European Commission report (PDF) that found the social-networking giant is reviewing reports of hate speech on its platform quicker than before.

The report found that Facebook assessed 95.7% of hate speech notifications in less than 24 hours, compared with 81.5% for YouTube and 76.6% for Twitter.

“While we recognize we have more to do, these results suggest we are moving in the right direction and have systems in place which continue to lead our industry,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said in a blog post Tuesday.

CNET’s Queenie Wong contributed to this report.

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