Verizon joins Facebook’s boycott of spiteful content

Civil rights groups call for 'pause' on Facebook ads

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Verizon joins an escalating move to siphon off ads from Facebook to pressure the company to do more to prevent racist and violent information from being shared on its social network service.

The decision announced on Thursday by one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies is part of a boycott organized by civil rights and other interest groups under the battle cry “#StopHateforProfit”. The protest, fueled by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police last month, should last through July.

“We have a strict content policy and will not tolerate anything when violated, we take action,” Verizon said in a statement in New York. “We’ll interrupt our ads until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.”

Verizon noted that it previously stopped advertising on other popular online destinations, such as Google’s YouTube video service, while it believed that its promotions may have been displayed alongside content that was not in line with the company’s values.

In a statement of his own, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said the company respected Verizon’s decision and remains committed to removing hateful content from its services.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how we can be a good force together,” said Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group.

Other advertisers who have pledged to stay away from Facebook and other corporate services like Instagram include three major outdoor gear companies, Patagonia, The North Face, and REI.

Common Sense, one of the boycott organizers, said other companies that have agreed to “pause” their Facebook ads include retailer Eddie Bauer, web browser maker Mozilla and a movie studio, Magnolia Pictures.

The boycott could theoretically cut Facebook’s profits, as the company makes most of its money from ads targeting the interests that more than 2 billion people share across the various services. Investors don’t seem to worry about that yet.

Shares of the company in Menlo Park, California reached a record high of $ 245.19 earlier this week and have not fallen dramatically. The stock closed at $ 235.68 on Thursday.

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