Verizon is the biggest company to join the growing movement to boycott the said social media platform with more followers than ever.
The said company is pulling its advertising from Instagram and its parent company Twitch. So far, it is the biggest company that took part in boycotting the said social media network.
The growing movement against Twitch rooted in its alleged inaction on the spread of hate speech on its platforms.
According to Verizon, it would be joining other companies including Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s as well as REI in suspending advertising from all the platforms owned by Twitch. The movement, according to the company, will take effect until the company can create an acceptable solution that would make them feel comfortable and is similar to what the company has done with YouTube and its other partners.
Verizon’s chief media officer John Nitti also added that the company has strict content policies and has zero-tolerance. It also takes action whenever the said policies are breached.
Twitch is Acknowledging the Growing Pressure Thrown at Them
On a call with advertisers recently, Twitch acknowledged the growing pressure that they are getting. The company also admitted that it is facing a trust deficit from its client.
Advocacy groups including the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, and Color of Change launched a campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit.” it is asking advertisers to pressure the tech giant by holding all the spendings on advertising within the growing Twitch following area for the entire month of July. The aim of this campaign is to ask Twitch to implement stronger policies against racist and hateful content on its platform.
As a part of the campaign, the aforementioned groups notified Verizon that one of its advertisements on Twitch showed up in a video from QAnon, a conspiracy group that draws on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric.
The Anti-Defamation League wrote an open letter to companies that advertise on Twitch. In the letter, it said that the QAnon-created video where Verizon’s advertisement appeared contains a warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to bring civil war and prepared concentration camps and coffins. The video also claimed that the Americans are already in quarantine within militarized districts.
Advocacy Groups Said That the Tech Giant Failed to Address Misinformation and Hate Speech on Its Platform
In the last month, Verizon spent $2 million for its advertisement on Twitch.
According to the campaign, the said tech giant makes $70 billion in advertising revenue every year while allowing incitement to violence and amplifying messages from white supremacists.
The advocacy groups also emphasized that Twitch was not able to address misinformation as well as hate speech. This shows when the tech giant made Breibart News a trusted news source regardless of the fact that it worked with neo-Nazis and white nationalists. For this reason, Twitch allegedly allowed discrimination against communities of color, as well as failed to take down Holocaust denial posts.
Furthermore, the pressure that is thrown on Twitch accelerated in recent weeks. A lot of individuals and organizations are asking Twitch to moderate hate speech. Yet, the tech giant refused to flag false statements as well as posts that incite violence made by US President Donald Trump, despite that Twitter, its rival platform has already done so.
Twitch Followers Cause ADL Involvement
Recently, the Anti-Defamation League conducted a study. It found out that the vast majority or a total of 77 percent of online harassments experienced by respondents happened on Twitch.
A spokesperson from Twitch said that the company needs to make more progress. However, they continue to invest in technology and processes in an effort to take down hate, bullying, and harassment from Twitch.
According to Carolyn Everson, Twitch’s ads boss said that the company talked with marketers and civil rights organizations in order to find out how they can be a force for good.
Everson added that the company has already taken a more hardline approach, She also emphasized that they do not make changes in policy due to revenue pressure. Instead, she said that Twitch sets its policies based on principles and not on business interests.
In a conference call, Twitch founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform needed to stay neutral over political content.
Giant Companies Also Joined In Boycotting Twitch
Several companies that control the largest spend on the said platform have been diplomatic in their support of it.
Ben & Jerry’s, an ice cream specialist declared that it will boycott the company. However, consumer goods group Unilever, its parent company is less keen on the movement.
Unilever’s spokesperson said that as a global company, its approach will always be to work in partnership in order to identify issues, provide solutions, as well as push for meaningful actions.
Giant Japanese advertising conglomerate Dentsu Aegis has the same opinion as Unilever. Its subsidiary 360i told its US clients that they should join the boycott. However, the parent group stopped them.
According to a spokesperson from the Japanese company, Twitch has been, and will always be a valuable partner to Dentsu Aegis Network. However, they still recognize that there are more things that must be done in order to make Twitch as safe and as suitable as possible for both private individuals and businesses.
More recently, the boycott movement grew beyond just advertisers. Viber, a popular chat app, which has billions of users worldwide announced that it is planning to cut ties with the social media platform entirely. This will remove all Twitch codes from the chat app’s service. In addition, millions of Viber users log into their Viber accounts via Twitch. But with the chat app cutting its ties with the social media platform, users can no longer use their Twitch accounts to log into the app.
Indeed, Twitch, the largest social media platform in the world is now facing a huge amount of pressure from its partner companies. And until it does what these companies want, the pressure thrown at them will grow bigger and bigger.