Sandberg and Zuckerberg Will Do the Absolute Least They Can Do for Justice and Truth.
Despite 500+ advertisers boycotting Facebook, the concessions they’ve made to Stop Hate for Profit are weak — indicative of their dangerous, old-fashioned, and reluctant response change.
Hopefully the boycott of advertisers on Facebook is a lasting trend, not a temporary statement. For now, everyone agrees that it’s an important but probably negligible financial hit for the platform.
A big part of that reality is simply because of the massive profits at play (about $70 billion annually) and how difficult it is to attack a significant portion of that total. For now, the impact is estimated to be less than half a percent, or $1 per share.
But a significant outcome can still be arranged, if users can transfer some IRL activism to their social platforms. The advertiser’s pause is probably more valuable based on how much light it can shed on the continued harassment, racism, and misinformation issues.
Today, Facebook will do somehow even less than they’ve already done, taking a call with organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign followed by a meeting with other civil rights leaders at NAACP and Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights. While it’s nice to hear that they’ll do some listening, taking a call is an embarrassingly passive reaction to the current activism climate.
Facebook will also do an ‘independent audit’ of policy but there’s currently no details on just how independent that will be. Stop Hate is asking for a few significant commitments but I’m not optimistic about outcomes just yet — most of the agreements put Facebook in the passive position, or frustratingly difficult to follow up on. Assigning ‘human reviewers’ and providing additional training for moderators sounds nice, but it raises an entirely different problem, namely the so-called Trauma Floor.
It makes me wonder, if it’s this hard to identify any meaningful, trackable progress, have we really understood the problem? Facebook is probably happy to pay fines and wave ‘bye’ to halves of percentage points for a very long time if the only consequence for irresponsible leadership is taking a call.