Patagonia, North Face and Other Brands Are Boycotting Facebook and Instagram
"The stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred."
Update June 29, 2020: Vans joins Patagonia, North Face, and REI in the #StopHateForProfit campaign. The skate giant, based in Orange County, California, will not be advertising on Facebook and Instagram through July. The company will be diverting money that would be spent on advertising on those platforms to Black communities through various empowerment and education programs.
"As a brand founded in the belief we are a people company, supporting our communities has always lived at the core of everything we do," Carly Gomez, vice president of marketing, Americas at Vans, said. "Instead of building window displays for our U.S. and Canada stores, we will use this money to support initiatives that reinforce that Black Lives Matter and that matter is the minimum."
Patagonia is joining brands like North Face and REI to stand up for change on social media this week. On Monday, the brand announced that they will be joining the #StopHateForProfit campaign by pulling all advertising from Facebook and Instagram until at least the end of July. The campaign was started by the NCAAP, Color for Change, and other civil rights groups who are looking to call attention to Facebook's policies toward misinformation and hate speech.
On Twitter, Patagonia announced the plan with a statement from Cory Bayers, Head of Marketing. "Patagonia is proud to join the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant," he said. Bayers added, "For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform. 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."
Despite calls for change on Facebook after massive scandals like Cambridge Analytica, the Trump administration has pushed for fewer restrictions on what the social media platform can do. This boycott from major corporations could be the first step to show how brands can step in when the government won't.
In October, CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg gave an address about the subject at Georgetown University. "I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy,” he said. “We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.” As Patagonia points out in its statement, however, this lack of oversight has led to the promotion of hateful, and sometimes violent rhetoric on the platform.
While there are only a few committed brands, Hypebeast reports that a bigger wave might be coming as Vans and Timberland consider joining.