As major Facebook advertising boycott commences, company says it 'does not profit from hate'

'There is no incentive for us to do anything but remove' offensive speech, the corporation argues.

Updated: July 2, 2020 - 12:00pm

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Facebook has published an open letter assuring users that it continues to work hard to target and remove hateful speech from its platform, following increasing political pressure and a boycott of advertisers to eliminate such content from the big social media platform.

Such platforms have come under intense criticism in recent months as advertisers and politicians demanded they do more to regulate user content, specifically what critics claim are pervasive hateful posts and activity by extremist groups. Numerous, high-profile Facebook advertisers have joined a July-long boycott of the site in the hope of forcing the company's hand. 

Major corporations such as Best Buy, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Hershey, Honda and Starbucks have pulled advertising on Facebook this month as part of the pressure campaign.

In an open letter published Wednesday, Facebook spokesman Nick Clegg responded to these developments by stating bluntly that the company "does not profit from hate."

"Billions of people use Facebook and Instagram because they have good experiences," Clegg wrote. "[T]hey don’t want to see hateful content, our advertisers don’t want to see it, and we don’t want to see it. There is no incentive for us to do anything but remove it."

Clegg also argued that hateful posts represent only a "tiny fraction" of overall posts and that they are taken down very quickly.

The company has "invest[ed] billions of dollars each year in people and technology to keep our platform safe," he said, including hiring 35,000 individuals to handle "safety and security" concerns. 

The company is "getting better" at policing hateful content, Clegg continued, "but we’re not complacent." He added that "the vast majority" of interactions on Facebook "are positive."