Sunday 12 July 2020 3:56 pm

Labour to boycott Facebook for one month over BLM concerns

Labour has begun an advertising boycott of Facebook, after the platform has been accused of not removing racist posts in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

The party, which spent more than £1m on Facebook advertising during the last election, will not use the social media giant to place ads for the next month.

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Labour joins the likes of Coca Cola, Lego and Adidas in suspending its Facebook advertising, after the platform has been criticised for not removing racist conspiracy theories and hate speech after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

The social media giant has been more reluctant to remove posts and censor users than other platforms, such as Twitter, with Mark Zuckerberg citing the need for freedom of speech to prevail.

The boycott aims to move jolt Facebook into action by denting its $70bn annual advertising revenue.

The story was first reported in the Sunday Times, revealing an email sent to senior Labour staff that read: “This is a complete boycott, meaning we can’t use Facebook to advertise anything at all and can’t use it to boost posts.”

Speaking to the BBC today, shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves confirmed the boycott.

“All MPs in the Labour Party use Facebook to get across our message, but what we’re not doing at the moment is advertising on Facebook,” she said.

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“And that is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign but also in line with what many businesses are doing this month, which is to express our concerns about the failure of Facebook to take down some hateful material from their platform and take more responsibility for the lies and propaganda that are sometimes put out there on Facebook.

“Facebook needs to do more to take responsibility and this is just one way that businesses and the Labour Party and others can put pressure on Facebook to do the right things and take tougher action on hate crime and hate speech.”