Ben & Jerry's joins Facebook advertising boycott

Ice-cream brand will not advertise on platform in US next month.

Ben & Jerry's: brand announced Facebook boycott on Twitter
Ben & Jerry's: brand announced Facebook boycott on Twitter

Ben & Jerry's has pulled all US advertising from Facebook in July in response to the social media platform’s handling of hate speech.

The Unilever ice-cream brand – which took to Twitter last month in support of Black Lives Matter – follows outdoor apparel companies Patagonia, REI and The North Face, which boycotted Facebook as part of a collective "Stop hate for profit" campaign urging the social network to impose stricter measures against hateful content.

In a statement released via Twitter last night (Tuesday), Ben & Jerry’s said the brand was "calling for Facebook to take stronger action to stop its platforms from being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy".

The statement continues: "We call on Facebook Inc to take the clear and unequivocal actions called for by the campaign to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate."

Created in the wake of George Floyd’s death – during which time Facebook refused to remove a post by US president Donald Trump that said "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" – "Stop hate for profit" is supported by civil-rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

In spite of the charge that Trump’s post incited violence, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said it did not violate the platform's policies.

In response to Ben & Jerry’s boycott, Carolyn Everson, vice-president, global business group, at Facebook, said: "We respect any brand’s decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. 

"Our conversations with marketers and civil-rights organisations are about how, together, we can be a force for good."

Unilever has been contacted for a statement.

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