Hap Freund and Jerry Roberts | Credit: Courtesy

[This article originally ran at Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts.]

First: Ben & 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 1.

In doing so, we’re following the lead of a growing list of companies, including the iconic Vermont ice cream makers Ben & 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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