This post is also available in: العربية
Profile Books, one of the UK’s most successful and high profile independent publishers, has joined companies such as Disney, Coca Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s in the global Facebook advertising boycott led by the advocacy group Stop Hate for Profit. The publisher has withdrawn all advertising on Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns) with immediate effect.
Explaining its decision, MD Andrew Franklin criticised Facebook for not doing enough to clamp down on hate speak, anti-semitism or fake news, and he urged other publishers join Profile. “Facebook has done nothing to silence violent hate speak, anti-semitism or fake news,” he said. “It allows manipulation of elections and ruins people’s lives—all to sell more advertising. This is all an anathema to us. With authors on our list such as Shoshana Zuboff, whose The Age of Surveillance Capitalism tells of the dangerous power of tech giants such as Facebook, and Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, we are well versed in the dangers involved and can’t stay silent. We urge every publisher in the UK to join us.”
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign looks at how Facebook handles misinformation and hate speech and has seen more than 1,000 companies pause their advertising with the social media giant. Among its recommendations to Facebook are for the company to “Establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate. This person would make sure that the design and decisions of this platform considered the impact on all communities and the potential for radicalization and hate.”
It also calls on Facebook to “Submit to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website. We simply can no longer trust Facebook’s own claims on what they are or are not doing. A “transparency report” is only as good as [the independence of] its author.”
Profile Books is believed to be the first publisher to publicly announce its action.