Hate speech: Facebook bends and breaks under the boycott of advertisers


Facebook has finally decided to moderate hate speech. After a wind of revolt blowing in its ranks, it was the boycott of several big advertisers that made Mark Zuckerberg change his mind.

When money speaks, Facebook listens carefully. The first social network in the world is currently facing a big boycott operation on the part of several large industrial groups. Starbuck, Coca-Cola, Unilever and many companies have announced that they will pause their Facebook advertising investments. At the heart of the debate, Mark Zuckerberg’s policy on hate speech, which will therefore be revised, announced the CEO in a short video.

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In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement for equal opportunities in the United States, the CEO of Facebook was indeed noted for his refusal to act concerning the polemical speech of Donald Trump. When the president called for violence against the demonstrators, Mark Zuckerberg explained that he did not want to moderate this speech on the pretext that it is difficult for Facebook to “Do whatever everyone wants” without attracting criticism from one side or the other. A soft position, made even more difficult by the fact that Twitter had tapped on the president’s nose.

Warnings about shocking content

Many employees had disagreed with Mark Zuckerberg at the time, but that did not change the position of management. But since then, several anti-racism associations have stepped up to denounce Facebook’s position and encourage companies to boycott the platform during the month of July. The movement has grown so large that large companies have followed the movement more or less radically.

As a result, Facebook fell apart and Mark Zuckerberg announced a battery of measures to combat hate messages. The main one is the prohibition of advertisements encouraging racial, sexual, ethnic discrimination, etc. The messages “Of public utility”, but which go against the principles of Facebook, will now inherit a small notification banner explaining the situation. A barely veiled response to the debate that has stirred the company in recent weeks. Measures against disinformation during the next US presidential campaign have also been announced.

Zuckerberg says new policy will respond “To the realities and to the difficulties which the current world meets”. But behind this beautiful speech also hides an economic reality for Facebook. Since the boycott announcements, Facebook’s share has plunged 8% on the stock market, forcing the platform to react.

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