Celebrities including Kim Kardashian won’t post on Instagram or Facebook for 24 hours from Wednesday as part of a protest to pressure the world’s biggest social media firm to fight hate and disinformation.
Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen, Katy Perry and Michael B. Jordan have all expressed support for the freeze organized by “Stop Hate for Profit”, a coalition calling on Facebook, which owns Instagram, to change.
“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”, posted Kardashian, who has 188 million followers on Instagram.
Actress Kerry Washington, known for her role on drama series “Scandal” posted: “It’s up to Facebook and other social platforms to stop the amplification of hate and the undermining of democracy.”
Facebook has come under heavy pressure from activists, governments and companies that advertise on its platforms for tougher action on promoting discrimination, hatred or violence.
The company has pointed to its efforts to take down accounts associated with extremist groups and its moves to fight misinformation ahead of the November 3 US presidential election.
Facebook was sharply criticised for its handling of the 2016 presidential election, when it failed to restrict disinformation from Russian operatives that spread conspiracy theories and discouraged voting in some cases.
The Stop Hate for Profit collective organizing Wednesday’s freeze, which includes the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, was behind a push for advertisers to boycott the platform.
By July nearly 1,000 advertisers had joined, including VW and Adidas. Facebook still reported a $5.2 billion quarterly profit at the end of July, despite the protest.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met with coalition organizers in July, but they vowed to continue pushing the ad boycott saying the social media giant had failed to tackle hateful content.
In a statement on Wednesday’s freeze, the Anti-Defamation League said “members of the public, corporations, nonprofits and social influencers are expected to join in the effort.”
The collective, made up of nine associations, has demanded that Facebook increase the resources it puts into fighting online hatred and disinformation.