tech

Zuckerberg agrees to meet with groups behind advertising boycott

Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook to suppress posts that promote hate.

Zuckerberg to meet the organisers of ad boycott campaign,
Zuckerberg to meet the organisers of ad boycott campaign, (AP)

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to meet with civil rights groups who organized an advertising boycott of the platform, the company said Wednesday.

Facebook reached out to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change last week to arrange a meeting with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, a company spokesman said. The civil rights groups said they wanted Zuckerberg to be at the meeting, the spokesman added.

“We’ve since confirmed that Mark is able to join,” the spokesman said. “We’re waiting to hear back and look forward to the opportunity to continue the dialogue.”

Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and disinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday, Arisha Hatch, vice president, chief of campaigns, at Color for Change, said the group was “hopeful that in a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg that he will finally hear our real concerns about how the platform is operating.”

“We have obviously been in conversations with the corporation for years,” she added, “and our demands still remain the same and but we are hoping that in light new pressure from corporate advertisers from across the globe that will actually hear out and see to our demands a permanent civil right structure at Facebook.”

By Naomi Nix and Skylar Woodhouse