Users urged to boycott Facebook and Instagram by groups demanding Mark Zuckerberg be removed as CEO
- Boycott organisers Kairos, a racial justice group, aims to have at least 200,000 users pledge to join ‘The Facebook Logout’, which starts on November 10
- The action is in protest at what the groups involved say is Facebook’s failure to address the destructive role it plays in American life
Would you log off from Facebook and Instagram for a day? How about three?
Social justice and civil rights groups are urging consumers to join an America-wide boycott starting on November 10 to protest at what they say is the social media giant’s failure to address the destructive role it plays in American life, from the deadly coronavirus to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building in Washington.
The technology-focused racial justice group Kairos, which is organising the boycott, is calling it The Facebook Logout.
“People make this platform powerful, and without users, there is no Facebook,” Mariana Ruiz Firmat, executive director of Kairos, said.
The boycott’s website says: “We’re really over Facebook. So we’re logging out.” It encourages other users to take the pledge.
“From allowing white supremacists to plan a violent insurrection to ignoring disinformation for profit, Facebook is doing their worst,” it reads. “So we’re doing the thing that will get Facebook’s attention: logging out.”
One of the boycott’s demands: the removal of Mark Zuckerberg as CEO.
The consumer boycott comes as the drumbeat of criticism and rumblings of other boycotts intensify.
Facebook is on the defensive after the publication of a five-part Wall Street Journal investigation that used leaked internal documents to show the company knew about the harms it causes, including to the mental health of teenage girls on Instagram.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs, condemned the investigation, and dismissed charges that Facebook executives repeatedly ignored warnings about the harmful effects of its products and policies.
“These stories have contained deliberate mischaracterisations of what we are trying to do,” Clegg wrote in a blog post. He did not say what the mischaracterisations were.
Firmat says people are fed up with Facebook shrugging off responsibility.
“The public is tired of providing 98 per cent of Facebook’s revenue through ads, yet having no say in the governance of the platform,” she said. “People are desperate for collective action and The Facebook Logout provides a way for people to use their power to demand change.”
Other demands include an overhaul of content moderation policies, data policies that protect users’ privacy and a strategy to combat disinformation “that does not prioritise Facebook’s bottom line”.
The starting goal is to have at least 200,000 pledge to boycott Facebook who, in turn, invite their networks to take part.
Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are also discussing whether to organise consumers in a campaign against Facebook, according to a recent Axios report.
Stop Hate For Profit launched an advertising boycott campaign last summer after Facebook refused to take down a post from then-US President Donald Trump that many argued incited violence.