Patagonia, North Face, REI. What do these companies have in common? They all sell puffy jackets….and they’re all boycotting Facebook advertising in the month of July. A civil rights coalition including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP started the campaign #StopHateforProfit recently, aimed at bringing light to Facebook’s lack of response to “spreading hate” on the platform.
As you know, EFM is a very small company, nowhere near the scale of Patagonia. While we appreciate the sentiment of the campaign, removing ads for one of these companies feels like a drop in the bucket compared to a small company that needs to expand its customer base to survive. Not to mention the fact that we feel like we’re using ads to reach people who already take supplements - albeit nasty ones - to try out our stuff to be healthier and happier!
So when we saw the call for dropping any kind of spend on Facebook, we were a bit divided. A few of us here actively engage with people with whom we disagree on a regular basis in order to better understand perspective in our changing world. But that’s not how the platform works. You’re fed more of the things you literally “Like” and less of those you don’t, it’s designed to build you an echo chamber. As advertisers on Facebook, we’re also painfully aware of the level of data available to advertisers. To be able to target users so specifically with political ads geared toward emotionally impacting such a particular type of person, as defined by an algorithm, feels criminal to us. 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion in profit is from ads, after all.
We’ve made our decision to join these larger companies in boycotting Facebook ads for the month of July to show our desire for the platform to up its game. We don’t want censorship, we just want more responsibility in advertising. When EFM gets an ad rejected for showing a man with his shirt off, but certain Presidential campaigns can blatantly lie in an ad, something is wrong. Not only do the lies resonate as truth with certain users, impacting their perception of reality, but the leader of the free world is chosen based on falsehoods, and Facebook profits off of those lies.
It’s pretty simple: Facebook needs to change its algorithms to encourage civil discourse, and it needs to follow Twitter’s lead and ban political advertising. It’s not the same as a TV or radio ad - these social media ads can be designed and targeted in such detail that it borders on sinister. To be clear, for EFM this means in July, we will spend $0 on Facebook advertising. Nothing on Instagram, nothing to Facebook’s 3rd party network. We’re completely pulling our ad budget in support of #StopHateForProfit. We hope you understand, and welcome any questions you have about our advertising policies and our stance on Facebook. As always, thanks for supporting supplements with integrity!