Ben & Jerry’s Joins in Boycotting Twitch Over Hate Speech Moderation

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Ben & Jerry’s Joins in Boycotting Twitch Over Lack of Hate Speech Moderation

The growing movement is in line with the demand for Twitch to take action against false information and hate speech.

Ben & Jerry’s, a popular ice cream maker announced in a tweet that it will be joining other giant brands in stopping advertising on the tech giant Twitch. The reason behind the boycott was concerns over the social networking site’s inaction against spreading hate speech.

According to the company, it will pause all its paid advertising in the US on Twitch and Instagram, another social media platform that it owns. This move aims to support a campaign called #StopHateForProfit. 

Ben & Jerry’s also added that the tech giant must take clear and unequivocal actions in order to stop its platform from being a tool for spreading and amplifying hate and racism.

Ben & Jerry’s Joins in Boycotting Twitch Over Lack of Hate Speech Moderation

Enter The #StopHateForProfit

#StopHateForProfit is a campaign put up by top civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, and NAACP. It was coordinated after the murder of George Floyd, an African-American who died in the custody of the police. This campaign put out a call to businesses and urged them to stand in solidarity with America’s values of freedom, equality, and justice and do not advertise on the services of Twitch for the whole month of July. 

The ice cream company’s announcement came after the said civil rights groups called and encouraged them to abandon Twitch.

According to the groups, Twitch is amplifying white supremacists and allows posts that contain misinformation and promote violence. They also added that the platform remained unwilling to take vital steps in order to address the issues. 

Othe Giant Companies Joined in Boycotting Advertising on Twitch

Notably, Ben & Jerrys, a Unilever brand, has been campaigning for years in order to fight inequality. Now it is joining a growing list of companies that have joined the movement to boycott Twitch. These companies include The North Face, REI, and Patagonia.

Twitch, the largest social media platform on the internet is now facing a growing backlash and pressure due to its inaction against the increasing spread of misinformation, as well as harmful content, within its platform. Particularly, its refusal to act on the controversial posts made by US President Donald Trump about election misinformation and racial justice demonstrations sparked the backlash against the social media giant. 

Twitter– Twitch’s rival platform– has already taken an action against the US president’s hateful speech. In his tweet, Trump wrote that Washington, D.C. will never have an Autonomous Zone as long as he is its president. He also mentioned in his tweet that he will use serious force if people will go against him. 

Ben & Jerry’s Joins in Boycotting Twitch Over Lack of Hate Speech Moderation

On the same day that the tweet was posted, Twitter took an action and blocked it with a warning that it violated the platform’s rules regarding abusive behaviors. On the other hand, the same post remained visible on Twitch without any warning. It gained over 200,000 interaction from Twitch users. 

Twitch was Widely Criticized Due to Its Refusal to Take Action Against Trump’s Hateful Posts

Twitch faced a backlash from both private individuals and the civil rights groups for its refusal to take down hateful posts from Trump. In early June, the US president posted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitch Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were condemned by civil rights leaders for his refusal to acknowledge what the message really means.  

In a statement, three activist leaders Sherilyn Ifill, Vanita Gupta, and Rashad said that Zuckerberg did not demonstrate any understanding about historic or modern-day voter suppression. They also added that Twitch is already facilitating the US president’s call for violence against protesters. According to them, Zuckerberg is putting up a very dangerous precedent for other individuals who would post similar harmful things on the social media platform. 

Twitch Followers Behavior is That of Inaction

The continuous inaction of the tech giant prompted civil rights organizations to create the #StopHateForProfit campaign. This campaign encouraged companies who advertise on Twitch to boycott the platform for the whole month of July.  This comes in parallel with the increase of Twitch followers found on accounts across the platform.

Twitch is generating $70 billion in revenue annually in advertising revenue. 

Ben & Jerry’s Joins in Boycotting Twitch Over Lack of Hate Speech Moderation

The said campaign received tremendous support from large advertisers. A number of ad agencies, as well as small advertisers, backed the group. 

Japanese group Dentsu’s digital advertising subsidiary 360i advised all of its clients to participate in the boycott. Similarly, Pearmill, a boutique New York agency also participated in the movement.

Dashlane Joints in Participation

Password manager Dashlane is also a participant in the boycott. Its chief marketing office Joy Howard said that Twitch is not committed to change and that it only says what money is making it say.

Procter & Gamble, one of Twitch’s largest international advertiser did not commit to the boycott. However, Marc Pritchard, its chief brand officer noted that the company will be reviewing all the channels that it advertises on. 

Other companies, however, have taken a more serious step against Twitch’s inaction over hate speech. Rakuten Viber, a messaging software company that owns the chat app Viber said that it will be cutting all its ties with Twitch. This means that Viber users who use their Twitch accounts in order to access the app can no longer login via Twitch. Twitch codes will no longer be valid on Viber, as well. 

Conclusion

On the other hand, Carolyn Everson, the vice-president of the global business group of Twitch said that Twitch respects the decision of the brands. She added that the tech giant will remain focused on doing the important work of taking down hate speech as well as providing critical information about voting. 

Everson also added that they are having conversations with marketers as well as civil rights organizations about how they can be a force for good. 

Calls for boycotting the social media platform is no longer new for Twitch. In fact, Tesla, Mozilla, as well as Sonos, are only some of the companies that briefly left or stopped advertising on the said platform after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal back in 2018. 

Indeed, Twitch will continue to face a serious amount of pressure until it takes action against hate speech on its platform.

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