Profile Books joins Facebook boycott

Profile Books joins Facebook boycott

Independent publisher Profile Books, including imprints Serpent’s Tail, Viper Books and Souvenir Press, has joined the global Facebook advertising boycott led by by the advocacy group Stop Hate for Profit, withdrawing all Facebook and Instagram advertising with immediate effect.

The campaign, which protests over how the platform handles misinformation and hate speech, has seen more than 1,000 companies pause their advertising with the social media giant, reducing spending by millions of pounds in July. 

Profile is the first UK publisher to publicly announce that it is quitting the platform as an advertiser, joining organisations such as Disney, Coca Cola, Starbucks and McDonald's.

Explaining why it is joining the movement, m.d. Andrew Franklin criticised Facebook for not doing enough to clamp down on hate speak, anti-semitism or fake news, and he urged other publishers join Profile.

"Facebook has done nothing to silence violent hate speak, anti-semitism or fake news," said Franklin. "It allows manipulation of elections and ruins people’s lives—all to sell more advertising. This is all an anathema to us.

"With authors on our list such as Shoshana Zuboff, whose The Age of Surveillance Capitalism tells of the dangerous power of tech giants such as Facebook, and Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, we are well versed in the dangers involved and can’t stay silent. We urge every publisher in the UK to join us."

Flora Willis, Profile's head of social media, said: "While our ad spend might be meagre when compared with other brands joining the boycott, we hope that our decision will make help raise awareness in the UK publishing industry, encourage other publishers to do the same and have some impact, however small, on Facebook."

The campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, was set up by the ADL, NAACP and other civil rights groups in June, asking companies to stop advertising with Facebook in order to address "hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence" on the platform. Last week it was announced the campaign is being extended beyond July in the belief the movement will get bigger and more impactful. Its recommendations to Facebook can be read on the Stop Hate for Profit website.