A group of celebrities, namely Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, and Katy Perry amongst others are set to participate in a 24-hour Instagram boycott as part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement. The celebrities, who have millions of followers on Instagram, will protest Facebook’s repeated failures to address hate speech and election disinformation.
Kim Kardashian, who has over 188 million followers on Instagram, says she loves the fact that she can connect directly through Instagram and Facebook. “But I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation created by groups to sow division and split America apart,” she wrote in her post. “Misinformation shared on social media has a serious impact on our elections and undermines our democracy.”
Stop Hate for Profit had also called on big-name advertisers such as Coca-Cola to boycott the social media giant for the month of July. The group said their objective was to pressure the company into taking more stringent steps to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation on its platform. It wants Facebook to remove Facebook Groups that promote white supremacy, hate and violent conspiracies, as well as forbid any event page with a call to arms and eliminate a politician exemption for political and voting content etc. The campaign has had success over the past few months in getting others to take action against Facebook for its distribution of toxic content
However, in a recent incident as per CNBC, Facebook declined to take down a page for a militia organization based in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And this was despite hundreds of users sending notifications that the page included a call to arms and comments advocating violence against protesters, who were demonstrating over the police shooting of a Black man. Moreover, Jenna Golden, head of a consulting firm in Washington, says the celebrities stunts are worthless if temporary and short-lived. “If anything, they shine a light on the fact that we cannot live without these platforms since everyone always comes back – brands included.”
Jim Seyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media, said the Instagram freeze was just the first step in a new round of messaging. Seyer revealed that after the 24 hours of freeze was over, celebrities such as Sacha Baron Cohen and Demi Lovato would be posting educational messages aimed at young people. He said the messages would promote democracy and explain how social media companies spread disinformation, broadcast hate speech and allow far-right groups to form online.