Charities pledge to scale back social media advertising spend amid hate speech row

A coalition of 37 charities are threatening to curb their advertising spend on social media platforms that they find are failing to address hate speech.

The warning comes amid concerns around Facebook’s policies around addressing hate speech

The group has formed a working group to review their relationship with social media platforms where hate speech is published.

This includes “scaling back our social media spend where we can”, says a statement from the charities involved, including Parkinsons UK, Barnados and Friends of the Earth.

The statement adds: “As charities, we recognise that these platforms have a role to play in allowing us to connect with supporters and beneficiaries from all backgrounds.

“But we also know that not enough is being done to stop posts which incite hate and violence being made visible. No one should have to see these messages in their day-to-day lives, and especially not when trying to access ongoing information and support.

“We believe that it’s time for social media platforms to be better, and do better by the people who use them. It’s time for them to take action to make their platforms more inclusive, a place for connecting and debate, not hate.

“Hate, whether it’s based on race, gender, sexuality, disability, religious beliefs or any other characteristic, is not acceptable in society. And we all have a part to play in stopping its spread. We believe it’s important that Facebook and other social media owners hear this message loud and clear from as many people, and sectors, as possible.

When considering withdrawing advertising funding the group say this will be done “without it impacting our ability to deliver vital services”.

The charities involved will also look to see how social media platforms ethical marketing marries up with those of good causes.

“And where there is difference, we’ll be taking combined recommendations to the social media platforms to show them how they can do better for those we support,” adds the charities.

Facebook came in for criticism last month for allowing controversial posts from Donald Trump around the Black Lives Matter protests in the US to stay up. In contrast Twitter took action against a Tweet from the US President that it believed glorified violence.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs and communications said that the platform “does not profit from hate”.

He added: “We may never be able to prevent hate from appearing on Facebook entirely, but we are getting better at stopping it all the time.”

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