Kim Kardashian West is among several celebrities who have joined the #StopHateForProfit campaign targeted at Facebook, telling followers that she will suspend her use of Facebook and Instagram accounts on Wednesday in protest.
“I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation — created by groups to sow division and split America apart — only to take steps after people are killed,” she wrote in social-media posts. “Misinformation shared on social media has a serious impact on our elections and undermines our democracy.”
Kardashian West said she will “freeze” her Instagram and Facebook accounts on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and urged others to do the same. She included a link to the Stop Hate for Profit coalition’s website in her posts. The reality TV star, activist and entrepreneur, who is married to Kanye West, has more than 188 million Instagram followers and over 30 million on Facebook.
Other celebs who said they will suspend their Instagram accounts on Sept. 16 include Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Sacha Baron Cohen, Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.
A Facebook rep declined to comment but called out the company’s recent announcements about improving safety and policy enforcement, including an ongoing list of updates at this page.
Kardashian West’s reference to Facebook taking steps only “after people are killed” is a reference to the company’s failure to remove a militia group’s “call to arms” amid the unrest in Kenosha, Wisc., following the shooting last month of a Black man. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a town hall meeting, conceded that the company made “an operational mistake” in not removing the “Kenosha Guard” group from the platform before two protesters in the city were shot and killed Aug. 25 by a 17-year-old Illinois boy who had traveled to the city with a semiautomatic assault rifle.
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign, launched by groups including the NAACP, Common Sense Media and the Anti-Defamation League earlier this summer, was joined by hundreds of companies who pledged to suspend advertising on Facebook-owned platforms temporarily. The goal of the initiative is to spur the company to more aggressively police for and block hate speech and misinformation.
The organizers of Stop Hate for Profit had called for users to “freeze” their Instagram accounts on Sept. 16.
“We are quickly approaching one of the most consequential elections in American history. Facebook’s unchecked and vague ‘changes’ are falling dangerously short of what is necessary to protect our democracy,” the coalition says on its site. “Facebook’s role in the Kenosha shooting — which was flagged as violating their policies hundreds of times — is a reminder that changing policies without changing enforcement means little. It reinforces the fact that lives are on the line.”
Facebook has said it has been taking proactive measures on the issue but execs have denied that they have been coerced into setting policies by the advertising boycott.
“We are making changes – not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure, but because it is the right thing to do,” COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a July blog post.