What the latest ad boycott can teach social media users about responsibility
Social media, the use thereof, and mental health have been in the spotlight for much of 2020, and with good reason: many experts claim that social media is both a HERO of the pandemic (because it keeps us connected) and the VILLIAN (in that it can make anxiety worse).
Our position is that users must decide for themselves what social media's role will play in their lives. One of the ways we can better evaluate that is by learning from the Facebook and Instagram ad boycott of 2020.
What's happening: Many large brands are pulling their ads from Facebook and Instagram. It's called the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign.
Who's participating: Brands such as Starbucks, Levi's, Ford, Adidas, and others.
Why are they doing this? “For too long, Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform,” Patagonia wrote in its statement. “From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred.” (source)
What this can tell us about responsible social media use?
Your news feed is not a democracy. You can unfriend, unfollow, and remove content that you don't want to see.
You can take action. Regulation via social media giants, such as Facebook and Twitter, might not happen. But we can regulate use in our own lives. We can become more educated about what we see and allow ourselves to consume.
You can understand the consequences. Every action on social media has the potential to have consequences (good and bad) in the real world. Nothing on social happens in a vacuum. We must understand how our behavior on social media impacts those around us and those we love.
Average, everyday social media users should pay attention to what big brands are doing right now to better manage social media environments and the types of content they are okay with (and not okay with).
We are only as good as what we allow to continue on each social media platform.