There have been calls from current and former Facebook moderators for the extension of the advertiser advertiser boycott of the social media platform to prove that the move was little more than a “PR stunt”.
The boycott was due to come to an end this month. However, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, one unnamed Facebook called on the advertisers to continue their support of the group.
Chris Gray, a former Facebook moderator in Ireland who is suing Facebook in relation to the condition he was expected to work in, has been critical of the protest from the outset. He said: “Millions and millions of small businesses are going to have to pay for adverts: that’s all they can do. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care. He’s on record as saying they’ll be back. So I’ve got no faith that it will achieve anything.”
The boycott began during June and has included massive global companies such as Disney, Unilever and Volkswagen. However more moderators have echoed Gray’s criticism’s. One current moderator, speaking to the Guardian, said: “I don’t think that Facebook are going to care about this, and they haven’t lost revenue. It’s like 5% of their lost revenue, and it will only last til the end of July, so they’ll recover from it. It’s good that their policies are getting attention. In this way, we all may benefit. But facing the attack they’re retrenching, so it’s hard to predict what’s going to be the effect of this.”
Gray warned that demands to take steps against hate speech can rebound on the low-paid moderators carrying out the work. He commented: “Everyone is jumping up and down, and nobody cares about the people who’ll do the work,” he said. “You want FB [Facebook] to do more – well, what do you want the guy at the desk to actually do, in between his PTSD and his ridiculous working conditions?”
The boycott has faced a backlash since it began with many began, some were questioning its relevance as the vast majority of the advertising revenue that Facebook earns is from millions of small companies rather than the bigger multinational companies like those mentioned above.
Carolyn Everson, the vice-president of Facebook’s global business group, went on record in relation to the boycott, saying: “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organisations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”