23:56 GMT04 August 2020
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    A campaign that was launched by civil rights groups following protests against racial discrimination in the United States has significantly affected the company’s shares, which went down 8 percent on 26 June.

    The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex are privately supporting a boycott campaign against Facebook, The Insider reported, citing the couple’s spokesman. The news was first published by the website Axios, which claims that the Sussexes have encouraged CEOs around the world to join the campaign against Facebook over content that appears on the platform, in particular hate speech and misinformation.

    The aim of the #StopHateforProfit campaign is to make big brands stop buying ads on Facebook until the company deals with the issue. The campaign was initially supported by small companies like The North Face and Patagonia; however, in recent days it was joined by giants like the multinational company Unilever, telecommunications conglomerate Verizon, and is apparently now supported by the Sussexes too.

    The news has received mixed reaction on social media. Some users praised the couple’s decision and criticised Facebook for spreading "lies and racism".

    ​Some netizens even claimed that the couple’s decision to join the campaign would lead to the demise of Facebook and said same fate would befall other social media companies.

    ​Other users noted that the issue is not important and stressed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex themselves use Facebook to speak about social problems.

    ​The #StopHateforProfit campaign was started by US civil rights groups like the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Color of Change following a controversy surrounding a post by Donald Trump on Twitter, which also appeared on Facebook. Commenting on the riots and violent behaviour during the recent protests against racial discrimination, which were sparked by the death of an unarmed African-American man, Trump said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts". Twitter hid the post because it was deemed as inciting violence. Facebook, however, did not hide it.

    "Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric. I disagree strongly with how the president spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said back then.

    This sparked outrage from civil rights groups, but Zuckerberg continued to defend the company’s policy even after he was criticised by Facebook employees. On 26 June, Zuckerberg reversed his decision and announced a change in policy.

    Tags:
    Donald Trump, misinformation, social media, Hate Speech, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Facebook
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