Comhlámh also calls for other organisations to suspend paying advertising revenue until tech giant takes substantive action.
While Facebook likes to promote itself as bringing people together, mounting evidence shows its products are having the opposite effect across the globe.
Comhlámh has halted all advertising on Facebook products as part of growing international support for the ‘Stop Hate For Profit’ campaign. As of 30th June the organisation will suspend all advertising across Facebook and Instagram. Head of Comhlámh Mark Cumming said.
“We welcome this opportunity to support the ‘Stop Hate For Profit’ campaign and to stand in solidarity with communities here in Ireland and globally, negatively impacted by Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s failure to take substantive action on hate on its platforms. While Facebook likes to promote itself as bringing people together, mounting evidence shows its products are having the opposite effect across the globe.”
We only have to look to Myanmar, where Facebook played a significant role in facilitating violence and ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Muslim Rohingya minority by the Myanmar military in 2018. While Facebook admitted the role its product played, it claimed to be unaware of how it was being used two years ago. Since then we have all seen examples of rampant racism, homophobia, incitement to violence in Facebook groups and profiles. More recently we have seen conspiracy theories and reactionary anti-science being propagated across the platform, posing a threat to public health in the time of global pandemic
“Civil society organisations and the wider communities we come from cannot afford the same complacency that continues to be shown by Facebook’s leadership over the past few years
Facebook can no longer claim it is unaware of how its platform is being used to spread hate, intolerance and radicalising, particularly in Ireland. In April 2019, Mark Zuckerburg was handed a briefing dossier by the current Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan in a meeting with two other TDs. The briefing document outlined the extent and types of activity happening on its platform, yet no action has been taken over one year later.
Mark Cumming continued
“Civil society organisations and the wider communities we come from cannot afford the same complacency that continues to be shown by Facebook’s leadership over the past few years. It is clear that – regardless of cyclical statements of concern – the only time Facebook sit up and listen is when their bottom line and profit is impacted. Facebook’s MENA headquarters are based in Ireland, primarily for beneficial tax arrangements. This affords Ireland great leverage, and we call on the newly appointed government to make its concerns heard in Facebook at the highest levels.”
The collective power of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign aims to directly address that. We refuse to play any part in Facebook profiting from the hate it is facilitating. We call on other organisations and businesses in Ireland to stand in solidarity with communities affected while supporting the demands of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign around increased accountability, decency and support.
Notes for editors.
1: Comhlámh is the Irish Association of Development Workers and Volunteers, with over 40 years of experience in working with overseas development workers and volunteers. We are a member organisation that works to mobilise for an equitable and sustainable world. We support people in their journey of working in Ireland and internationally for just, inclusive societies
2 Stop Hate For Profit : Next Steps for Facebook https://www.stophateforprofit.org/productrecommendations
3 Far Right Observatory briefing document of use of Facebook in Ireland for far right organising as presented to Mark Zuckerberg in April 2018 by Eamonn Ryan. https://medium.com/@farrightobservatory/far-right-mobilisation-in-ireland-and-facebook-stop-hate-for-profit-bc0ca1da2cfe