Labour joins Facebook advert boycott over ‘hateful material’
The work is joining Facebook’s advertising boycott “in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” said one of the party’s senior MPs.
Shadow Minister Rachel Reeves told the BBC that the party wanted to “express our concern over Facebook’s inability to eliminate hateful material.”
The companies, including the consumer goods company Unilever, also joined the campaign.
Facebook said the malicious posts would be removed but some may remain if they have a value for the news.
The Facebook advertising boycott was initiated by the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in the American city of Minneapolis.
The organizers, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, accused Facebook of allowing “racist, violent and verifiably fake content to spread on its platform.”
Speaking with BBC Andrew Marr, Reeves said, “All Labor Party MPs are using Facebook to get our message across, but what we’re not doing right now is advertising on Facebook.
“And this is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign but also in line with what many companies are doing this month, which is to express our concerns about Facebook’s inability to eliminate some hateful materials from their platform and take on more responsibility for the lies and propaganda that are sometimes spread on Facebook.
“Facebook needs to do more to take responsibility and this is just one of the ways companies, the Labor Party and others can put pressure on Facebook to do the right things and take harsher hate crime actions and hate speech. “
Of the £ 40m spent by political parties during the 2017 election, around £ 3m went directly to Facebook ads, with conservatives spending twice as much as all the other parties put together.
In response to the campaign in late June, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s record of breaking hate speech, indicating a European Commission report that the social network removed 86% of I hate last year, against 82.6%.
He said advertisements would be banned if they describe different groups, based on descriptors such as race or immigration status, as a threat – as well as content that could incite violence or suppress the vote.
However, he also said that occasionally content that violates the company’s policies would be left “if the value of the public interest outweighs the risk of harm.”
“Often, seeing the speeches of politicians is in the public interest and in the same way that the news reports what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see them alone on our platforms,” he said.
“We will soon start labeling some of the content that we leave because it is deemed noteworthy, so that people can know when it is,” he said.