Messaging service Viber has become the latest company to pull its advertising from Facebook over the social network’s failure to protect its users from hate speech. It joins a growing number of companies, including Ben & Jerry’s The North Face, Patagonia, REI and Verizon, in supporting the #StopHateForProfit movement to boycott Facebook.
But while the call was initially for companies to stop advertising on Facebook during July, the problem is escalating into a longer-term one for Facebook. Verizon said it was pausing its advertising until Facebook “can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.”
As for Viber, it is not just pulling its advertising, but cutting all business ties with Facebook. This includes removing Facebook Connect, the Facebook SDK, and GIPHY (which was recently acquired by Facebook), as well as ceasing all ad spend on the social network.
In a statement, Viber said: “On top of numerous instances of data misconduct, including the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the political consulting firm improperly harvested data of up to 87m Facebook users, Viber sees Facebook’s hate-speech stumble as the last straw. As such, the messaging app is taking the #StopHateForProfit movement a step further, cutting all business ties with Facebook.”
Viber’s CEO Djamel Agaoua added: “Facebook continues to demonstrate poor judgment in understanding its role in today’s world. From the company’s mishandling of data and lack of privacy in its apps, to its outrageous stand of avoiding the steps necessary to protect the public from violent and dangerous rhetoric, Facebook has gone too far. We are not the arbiters of truth, but the truth is some people are suffering from the proliferation of violent content and companies must take a clear stand.”
Viber said the actions to remove the relevant Facebook touchpoints from the Viber app are expected to be completed by the beginning of July 2020. Ad spend on Facebook will cease immediately.