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Creative Water Cooler Creative News

Facebook boycott turns to Instagram, as celebs temporarily freeze accounts


By Imogen Watson | Senior reporter

September 16, 2020 | 4 min read

You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about developments from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, the talk of the town is Stop Hate For Profit's Instagram freeze.

Stop Hate 4 Profit

Stop Hate 4 Profit

Members of the 'Stop Hate For Profit' campaign behind July's Facebook ad boycott have now turned their attention to the social giant's sister platform, Instagram. As part of a week of action, the campaigners are encouraging a 24-hour Instagram freeze, with high profile users including Kim Kardashian West, Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Ruffalo vowing to take part.

With November's US presidential elections fast approaching, the Instagram freeze and week of action have been devised to garner attention towards Facebook's role in spreading misinformation. The programme includes a series of posts from members of the public, corporations and nonprofits.

Stop Hate For Profit, which is led by nine civil rights and advocacy organisations, has called the social giant out for, "unchecked and vague 'changes' which fall dangerously short of what's necessary to protect our democracy".

Posting across her social channels, Kardashian West admitted that while she enjoys connecting with her fans directly, she "couldn't sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation."

Beyond merely raising the profile of the 'Stop Hate For Profit' cause, within minutes of Kardashian West announcing she was to temporarily say goodbye to her 188m Instagram followers as part of the boycott, Facebook's market value plummeted by roughly $10m. It later rebounded.

Stop Hate For Profit has sent a number of demands to Facebook, urging it to take down groups focused on white supremacy, increase resources on monitoring groups for hate speech and ensure accuracy in political and voting matters. It claims it has already forced Facebook to make a series of concessions, including its decision to hire a senior role to oversee civil rights and establish a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.

While the freeze will undoubtedly create inroads by raising awareness from high-profile names, not all responses have been positive. Like May's #BlackoutTuesday for Black Lives Matter, critics have called it out as an ineffective performative gesture that will not make a dent on Facebook's profits.

Stop Hate For Profit first emerged back in July, when it rallied 1,200 businesses and non-profits to pause their ad spend on Facebook, including Ben & Jerry's, Starbucks, Unilever and Diageo.

While the boycott raised awareness of Facebook's handling of misinformation, it failed to make a dent on Facebook's profits, with its revenue still growing 11%.

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