Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has cut all ads on Facebook and Facebook’s photo-sharing platform Instagram as part of a boycott organised by civil rights groups in the US.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started last week by a number of groups who say Facebook is not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech on its platforms.

Patagonia is the latest brand to join the boycott, following clothing maker’s VF Corp’s outdoor clothing brand North Face, and recruitment company Upwork, as well as REI, the US outdoor recreation brand.

Patagonia, which has a strong track record of speaking out on ethical issues, says it will pause ads until at least the end of July, Retail Week reports.

“For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform,” the company said in a statement.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the US black man whose death while being arrested on May 25 sparked global demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

The campaign is urging advertisers to pressure Facebook to introduce stricter policies against racist and hateful content being posted in its platforms by putting all ad spending on hold for the month of July, The Guardian reports.

“From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred,” read one of Patagonia’s tweets.

Facebook said in a statement, “We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information.”

Meanwhile, the European Union is considering getting tough on social media over the removal of illegal hate speech from its platforms, TechCrunch reports.

The European Commission’s latest assessment of tech platforms’ adherence to a voluntary code they signed up to four years ago, praises “overall positive” results, with 90% of flagged posts examined within 24 hours and 71% of content categorised as illegal hate speech removed within 24 hours. This removal rate is up from only 28% in 2016.

But the Commission’s assessors found platforms still lack transparency and are not providing enough feedback on removals. Only Facebook informs users “systematically” the Commission said and noted, “All the other platforms have to make improvements.” The Commission also said there were inconsistencies in platforms’ evaluation processes.

EU commissioners are now consulting on updating the laws relating to digital services and liability, to make platforms’ responsibilities clear, TechCrunch noted.

Sourced from Retail Week, Guardian, TechCrunch