US companies hypocritical on Facebook ads

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/29 19:03:44

A 3D-printed Facebook logo Photo: VCG

Some large US enterprises are now pulling advertisements from Facebook to pressure the company to crack down on hate speech and disinformation, but they kept silent during Hong Kong's social unrest when Facebook blocked accounts showing support for the Hong Kong police and against violence.

Chinese experts said that the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign is the latest evidence of large US companies' vulnerability to Western political correctness and their double standards when their business is under threat.

In the past week, major US brands including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Honda's US division and Verizon joined more than 100 brands in limiting or stopping ads on Facebook, reported Business Insider on Monday.

Starbucks said in a statement that it would "pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech," though it did not directly link the change to the boycott campaign.

While brands pull ads in what they say is a move intended to encourage Facebook to remove hate speech and disinformation, the deeper reason is that businesses in sectors like retail and catering have been battered by both the global pandemic and protests across the US since May, Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Monday.

"These companies' actions show the hypocrisy of Western political correctness," Tian said, noting that "once their own interests are in danger, large US companies would unhesitatingly go on the attack, but if their US' competitors' interests are harmed, these giants would remain silent. They've always been this way."

During social unrest in Hong Kong last summer, Twitter suspended 936 accounts, claiming they "undermine the legitimacy and political positions" of the protests in the city, while Facebook suspended the Hong Kong police force's 10 anti-violence WhatsApp hotlines - only three days after the service's launch.

Anti-violence citizens protested against Facebook in front of its office in Hong Kong in August saying the platform acts against fair and equity principle by unreasonably cracking down on anti-violence net users and whitewashing the unrest in Hong Kong, calling for drop of double standards on violent protests.

However, large American companies operating in Hong Kong at the time did not pressure Facebook to build a welcoming and inclusive internet environment.

As some politicians of the "deep state" in the US advocate and encourage violent protests in Hong Kong out of their animosity toward China, it's possible that Facebook and Twitter might be forced to remove accounts that speak against violence and support the Hong Kong police, Cao Heping, a professor of economics at Peking University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

"But what's a pity is that such moves will only lead Facebook and Twitter to become political tools, or hostages to Western politics, rather than responsible public platforms," Cao said.
Newspaper headline: Social media become ‘tools’


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