Facebook headquarters in California in 2019 (illustration photo) - AFP
The meeting "gave nothing". The associations behind the huge advertising boycott against Facebook came out "disappointed" from a virtual meeting with its bosses and even more determined to galvanize the hundreds of brands that are asking the social network to better fight against hateful and harmful content.
"I am very disappointed that Facebook continues to refuse to be responsible towards its users, its advertisers and society in general," said Jessica Gonzalez, co-president of the association Free Press, after the videoconference interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO, and his number two Sheryl Sandberg.
"I was hoping to see humility and deep reflection on Facebook's disproportionate influence on public opinion, beliefs and behavior, as well as the many harms it has caused in real life. Instead, we were entitled to more dialogue and no action, ”the activist continued in a statement.
Organizers have promised that the boycott, already followed by nearly 1,000 companies - including Adidas, Levi's, Coca-Cola, Starbucks - will continue as long as Facebook makes "no commitment to act" against content that promotes racism, discrimination and hatred. The #StopHateForProfit movement was launched a few weeks ago by African American civil rights organizations and against anti-Semitism, amid protests against racism and police violence across the country.
The road is long
They claim in particular a post of referent on civil rights at Facebook, audits, reimbursements to advertisers whose ads have rubbed shoulders with content that was then withdrawn, the creation of teams of online harassment experts or even the withdrawal of all public and private groups dealing with white supremacy, anti-Semitism, violent conspiracy theories, denial, vaccine misinformation and climate skepticism.
Facebook, for its part, highlighted all the efforts made for more than two years in terms of moderation of problematic content and the fight against disinformation.
The associations "want Facebook to get rid of hate content and so do we," said a spokesman for the California giant after the meeting.
“We have invested billions of people and technology to make it happen. We have created new regulations to prohibit interference with the polls or the census and we have launched the largest election information campaign in American history. ”
The four associations hoped for a return on their recommendations, presented to Facebook "3 weeks ago". But "we had nothing at all," said Jonathan Greenblatt, the boss of the Anti-Defamation League. "They talked about 'nuance' (…), they told us that they were 'on the way', that they were improving, that they were almost there, 'he said. at a press conference. "But Starbucks wouldn't say, 'we're on the right track, 89% of our coffees don't contain toxins'! "
“Last chance” to act against racism
Organizations want to challenge Facebook's business model, which is based on very large-scale advertising targeting. "Their core business is to keep our pupils screwed to their platform", indignant Jessica Gonzales.
They criticize the network for acting only under external pressure, and often when it is too late.
Violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar (fueled by unregulated hate speech on the platform more than two years ago) and the far-right American movement “Boogaloo”, whose heavily armed followers have repeatedly tried to disrupting the recent anti-racist demonstrations were notably mentioned. At the end of June, the social network with 1.73 billion daily users banned the "Boogaloo" groups.
Facebook should also publish on Wednesday the third and last part of an audit on civil rights, launched in May 2018. Sheryl the meeting, Sheryl Sandberg said she was aware of the importance of what is being played. On her Facebook page, she noted that the teleconference was being held "in the context of perhaps the most significant social movement in the history of the United States, and the best - and perhaps the last - chance for our nation to act against the racism that permeates our country. "
- By the Web