FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto – As the world’s leading brands boycott Facebook to protest the company’s complicity in promoting racism, violence, and misinformation, watchdog group FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is calling on the Canadian Government to reverse plans to host virtual Canada Day celebrations on Facebook.
“Facebook’s indifference to the hatred, violence, and racism it promotes is now so egregious that the world’s leading brands can no longer stomach it. Yet the Trudeau government seems not to mind. If the government really cares about fighting racism and hatred in Canada, it must pull the virtual Canada Day event from Facebook and stop all advertising on the platform,” says FRIENDS’ Executive Director Daniel Bernhard.
In recent days, major global brands like Ben & Jerry’s, North Face, Patagonia, and Eddie Bauer have joined a boycott of Facebook, citing the platform’s consistent practice of amplifying hateful and racist content. They also take issue with Facebook’s wanton promotion of far-right propaganda, exemplified by their decision to designate Breitbart News as a “trusted source.”
Seemingly unphased by the corporate world’s strong moral stance, the Government of Canada is actively encouraging Canadians to use Facebook to celebrate Canada Day. In a June 1st email, the Department of Canadian Heritage encouraged Canadians to “RSVP to the virtual Canada Day 2020 event on Facebook!” and to “Follow Canada Day virtually on Canadian Heritage’s social media sites.” The celebrations will also be broadcast on CBC.
“How is it that multinational corporations are taking a stronger moral stand against Facebook’s complicity in spreading racism than the government of Canada? Do profit-seeking companies now care more about public safety than our government?”, Bernhard asks. “These companies are sacrificing profits, during a recession no less, because no amount of money can justify Facebook’s behaviour. Yet the government has no problem funneling cash and eyeballs to Facebook.”
New Elections Canada data show that the Liberal Party of Canada spent more money on Facebook during the 2019 federal election than any other party. The government has neglected to follow through on a variety of promised tax and regulatory measures to rein in Big Tech. Further, the government continues to spend tens of millions of public dollars advertising with Facebook at a time when large advertisers are abandoning the company because it continues to promote content that advocates violence against people protesting systemic racism and content that politicizes and undermines public health responses to COVID-19.
“Canada Day celebrates Canadian unity. Facebook, which profits from division, hatred, and racism, is no place for Canada Day. Prime Minister Trudeau’s professed opposition to hatred and racism cannot be taken seriously so long as his government continues to encourage Canadians to visit Facebook.”
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is a national grassroots organization that defends Canadian journalism, storytelling and public broadcasting. FRIENDS is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.
ABOUT FRIENDS OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING: FRIENDS is the citizens' independent advocate for Canadian journalism, storytelling, and public broadcasting, and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.
For information and media inquiries, contact Jim Thompson at [email protected] or call 613-567-9592.