‘We’re kind of going back to a much earlier mindset where advertisers … are not comfortable … where they don’t have greater control over things that are said…’
(Liberty Headlines) As details continue to unfold about the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which allies globalist corporations with radical activist groups, the chilling implications are becoming increasingly clear.
In effect, the boycott, led by some of capitalism’s greatest profiteers, hopes to weaponize the free market to suppress free speech—effectively pitting two of democracy’s core pillars against one another to promote a pro-Marxist, anti-American agenda.
The movement claims to be spearheaded by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP, two vaunted left-wing advocacy organizations whose history of advancing noble civil-rights causes belies their current fascist streak.
Partnering with them are a number of other groups that have been known to use mob-like tactics to silence and suppress dissenting viewpoints—and the current initiative is no exception.
The campaign has, for now, set its aim on social-media sites whose leftist virtue-signaling makes them easy targets. Both Twitter and Facebook have dallied with censorship of conservatives before, despite paying obligatory lip service to their nominal support for free-speech principles.
While the boycott may seem a noble cause to some, following in a long tradition of leveraging consumer habits to influence and spur social changes, past movements—with only a few exceptions, such as the temperance movement to ban alcohol during the 1920s—have pushed for greater freedom and cultural permissiveness.
However, the latest one coincides with a lurch toward more authoritarian demands, thus far characterized by the destruction of national monuments and other longstanding symbols of American culture.
As the conservative website American Greatness noted recently, the assault comes as activists seek to broaden their definitions of “hate speech” and redefine it as anything that happens to oppose a far-left agenda.
The “Stop Hate for Profit” group recently released its list of unreasonable demands for social-media companies, among them:
- establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate
- submit to regular, third party, independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation with summary results published on a publicly accessible website
- find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism [with the likely exclusion of left-wing hate groups such as Islamic radicals and jihadists], violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism
- create an internal mechanism to automatically flag hateful content in private groups for human review
- ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption [for conservatives who disagree with the group’s partisan demands]
In Egyptian and Greek mythology, the ouroboros is depicted as a self-cannibalizing serpent—often a symbol of spiritual renewal or the cyclical quality of life.
It is an apt mascot, albeit a deeply negative one, for the politically correct Left’s tendency to target its own while hoping to build greater momentum against its true enemies on the Right.
The #MeToo movement offers a shining example. Catalyzed by their disdain for President Donald Trump’s perceived misogyny, woke leftist radicals were first forced to clean their own house of notorious serial rapists like Harvey Weinsten and even casual sexual harassers like Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.
The movement’s zenith—or nadir, as it were—came in the effort to block Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the basis of less-than-proven claims of a decades-old sexual assault.
But failing to hit their mark against ideological adversaries, the MeToo movement quickly waned. By the time credible accusations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden emerged earlier this year, it was clear that its biggest advocates were prepared to do an about-face when their MeToo goalposts became politically inconvenient.
Sadly, remaining in its wake were the many casualties who had been made examples of by the shifting social paradigms, and who were unlikely to shake off the stigma of specious accusations that led to their downfall.
The current push for greater intolerance of “hate speech” bears some of those same hallmarks—ultimately doomed to fail as it reaches the tipping point where the so-called victims and victimizers intersect.
Meanwhile, it could leave in its wake unprecedented collateral damage by eroding America’s core principles, creating a greater sense of distrust and divisiveness in the country’s collective values and shared objectives.
A No-Win Situation
The success of such a censorship campaign, even in the short-term, poses an existential crisis for the social media companies that have become essential communications platforms within the past quarter century.
Advertising accounts for nearly all Facebook’s $70.7 billion annual revenue, and a similar share of Twitter’s $3.46 billion. Both already faced declining ad spending as big advertisers like Ford and Coca-Cola cut their budgets amid the pandemic and recession.
But capitulation to the mob’s demands comes with its own potential risks, making it a no-win situation for the online platforms.
President Donald Trump recently threatened the tech companies with greater oversight and regulation for allowing partisan censorship to guide their community guidelines.
Moreover, the emergence of competitive sites like Parler may threaten to strip the leading sites of a sizeable portion of their audience if they stray beyond the pale, much as the emergence of Fox News as counterbalance to leftist media bias contributed to a greater polarization—and smaller market share—for the existing legacy media.
Investors already have taken note of the winds of change.
“We’re kind of going back to a much earlier mindset where advertisers seem that they are not comfortable advertising with user-generated content where they don’t have greater control over things that are said,” said Nicole Perrin, principal analyst at eMarketer.
An Uncertain Impact
Perrin said the boycotts might not have much a financial impact for Facebook, considering its more than 8 million advertisers. Many of those advertisers are small operations that need social media exposure.
Outdoor gear retailers Northface, REI and Patagonia were among the first companies to join the boycott. Patagonia said it made the move because the social media giant failed to take steps to stop the spread on its platform of “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda.”
However, the expansion of the boycott movement could lead to large brands drastically scaling back their spending, however, or quitting social media companies completely.
So far, the campaign purports to have signed on more than 500 companies and organizations.
Although most are minor, unknown entities, some—such as Ford and household products company Unilever (Dove soap, Axe body spray)—have a reach that touches most US households.
One of the biggest and most recent coups is telecom company Verizon, which also owns Yahoo, AOL (two former tech powerhouses that stand to gain from the downfall of Facebook and Twitter).
“We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable,” New York-based Verizon said in a statement.
Verizon, which spent $3.07 billion on advertising in 2019, appeared to tip the scales for investors, who sent Twitter shares plunging 7.4% and Facebook shares sliding 8.4% on June 26 after it joined the boycott.
Between the boycott and the pandemic, investors have a nearly impossible job trying to forecast Facebook and Twitter’s finances this year.
“We’re doing this in the middle of a pandemic where advertisers of all sorts are pulling back spending and cutting back costs where they can,” Perrin said. “We’ll never know how much of Facebook’s third-quarter results are due to the boycott or due to the pandemic.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press