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Digicel takes stand against hate speech

  • Making a stand: Digicel has announced it will halt all paid advertising on Facebook in July (Image supplied)

Digicel will cease all paid advertising on Facebook globally this month, as it takes a stand against online hate speech.

The parent company of Digicel Bermuda, said the move was “in solidarity with a number of leading global brands who have moved to send a strong message to Facebook that enough is enough and force it into affirmative action instead of idly standing by as its platforms are used to spark and spread negative, damaging and violent messaging”.

It has been reported that almost a third of advertisers are considering joining a month-long boycott of the social network. Many advertisers say Facebook is not doing enough to fight hate speech on its platform.

A survey by the World Federation of Advertisers showed that a third of the top 58 advertisers will likely suspend advertising, while another 40 per cent are also considering such action.

Household names that have announced they are halting advertising on Facebook include Honda, Ford, Verizon, adidas, Diageo and Unilver.

Jean-Yves Charlier, Digicel Group chief executive, said: “Everything we do across our 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific is with the aim of helping to create a world where no one gets left behind. And there’s no room in that world for the promotion of hate, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism and violence.”

He added: “In seeking always to lead with positivity and the spirit of inclusion, proudly today on behalf of our 7,000 wonderfully diverse Digicel employees globally, our customers and our communities, we’re ‘hitting pause on hate’.

“By standing together with the world’s best companies, our hope is that Facebook will be forced to put people above profits and do the right thing to help build a society where all people are respected and valued equally — as is their basic human right.”

The “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign is organised by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and other organisations who are advocating that businesses help them to “hit pause on hate” by pausing their paid advertising activities on Facebook platforms during July.

Digicel will make a donation of $30,000 to Jamaicans For Justice to assist in its tireless work to ensure the rights of all Jamaicans.

A Facebook company spokesman told The Royal Gazette: “We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies. We’ve opened ourselves up to a civil rights audit, and we have banned 250 white supremacist organisations from Facebook and Instagram.

“The investments we have made in AI mean that we find nearly 90 per cent of hate speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent EU report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube. We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM, and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”