Pressing Pause on Facebook Ads

Inspired by the NAACP-led boycott Stop Hate for Profit, Redfin is limiting its advertising spending on Facebook in July.

Facebook is a fixture in our society. It connects people with their friends and family, but it’s also how many folks get their news. That position of power carries a responsibility to help stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation on its platform that threatens to deepen the divisions in our country.

For the month of July, Redfin won’t advertise or post on Facebook or Instagram to meet new customers. The financial impact of this decision is small for both Facebook and Redfin; Redfin meets most of its customers through other means. But we can’t stand by when we believe that Facebook needs to make more change, more quickly, to live up to its potential to bring the world closer together.

The one caveat is that we’ll continue to advertise our clients’ homes for sale on Facebook. We have a commitment to everyone we represent to get them the most money for their homes and that means getting them the most eyeballs.

Facebook has already taken several steps in the right direction

We’d be remiss not to mention some of the good things that have come from Facebook recently. In May, Facebook announced the creation of an independent oversight board with the power to make binding decisions on what content is and isn’t allowed on Facebook and Instagram. They’ve significantly improved their technology to automatically detect hate speech, and a recent report from the European Commission showed that was the best social network at identifying and removing hate speech, though Instagram trailed behind.

We’re also encouraged by Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement last week on Facebook’s efforts to combat voter suppression, provide an authoritative source for voting information, and register 4 million voters in the upcoming national elections.

A frank dialog with Facebook on the way forward

We’ve had candid discussions with our Facebook representatives since the Stop Hate for Profit boycott was announced. We’ve been impressed with their willingness to discuss the issues. We hope that in the coming month those discussions lead to a few key actions:

  • Set a deadline for the oversight board to review its first case no later than September 30, 2020
  • Set a deadline for replicating the European Commission’s study on hate speech via an independent third-party in the US no later than September 30, 2020
  • Publish a roadmap on when Instagram will reach the same level of hate speech detection and removal that already has in place

It’s no easy task to let billions of people around the globe freely express divergent points of view, while shutting down hate speech and extremism. We don’t envy Facebook’s burden and we appreciate the work they’ve done so far to solve these problems. We look forward to working together to help strike a balance and expect to advertise on Facebook again once these problems are addressed.

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