I saw an interesting interview with a number of people on the news. The question was “Where do you get your news?” All of the people interviewed responded with “Social Media”.
Now, this was a small group of people and they weren’t scientifically selected and yet I had a sense that they are representative of a lot of people. After all, so many people walk around connected via their smartphone and so it only makes sense to turn there for news. Sure, you could download the CBC or CTV or Global or any other news application. But, unless you make a specific effort, it doesn’t happen.
For many, true hard news isn’t necessary to get along; a quick snapshot is often enough to give you a sense of what’s happening. Or, find out what is trending on social media.
Traditional Media have to pay the bills and a large part of that comes from advertising. We all know that. The same thing goes for Social Media. Those in education have been struggling for years working with students to drill home the message of media literacy.
Traditional Media outlets have earned our trust over the years. But, this Social Media is a different thing. Anyone, including me, can become a publisher of content. You’d have to have been in hiding the past while to realize that two of the biggest enterprises – Twitter and Facebook have been taking on the challenges.
In traditional media, it’s easy to say “I’d like to buy advertising on the 6:00 news”. Social Media is different. Therein lies the actions of the #StopHateForProfit movement. The movement is explained and tracked at: https://www.stophateforprofit.org/. In particular, there is a large and growing list of companies, big and small, that are standing up and pausing their purchasing of advertising on Facebook.
Scroll through the list (it’s a long one) here. You’ll see some pretty big names like Best Buy, Colgate-Palmolive, Dockers, Mozilla, Pfizer, SodaStream, Unilever and that’s just the tip of this financial iceberg.
So, if you’re accustomed to seeing those pieces of advertising when you visit Facebook and wondering what happened, reading and understanding with this list of companies shows what’s going on. The concept of media literacy has been something that we’ve wrestled with for years; this is an attempt to force Facebook to take action to stop the spread as it applies to hate.
Will this make an impact? I think many people are hoping so. Facebook does rely on advertising sales. This is an attempt to hit them in the pocketbook.
Will it work?