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Tech Takeover: A Closer Look At Cyber Racism

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WLVT) - For the next 30 days, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which works to fight against anti-Semitism, racism and extremism, along with the NAACP and other civil rights groups, is asking advertisers to boycott Facebook. The initiative is called “Stop Hate for Profit."

"Many advertisers signed on like Coke, Pepsi, Honda, Ford -- and Hershey in Chobani here in Pennsylvania," Shira Goodman, ADL regional director, told PBS39. "We just did a study and we found that 42-percent of Facebook users have experienced harassment or racism or hate-filled information on the platform. A lot of the advertisers have seen their ads next to disturbing, hateful content. We’re putting pressure on Facebook, one of the biggest platforms, and saying, do better. Don’t be a haven for hate."

Goodman believes Facebook should be more responsible in addressing cyber racism.

"They’re this huge company and we know people are using it not only to connect with old high school friends, but also for news, for political information, political ads and there are forums that people can join. Yes, they’re a private company, but they still have a corporate responsibility.

Facebook is one of the most successful advertising platforms in the world. The ADL hopes the boycott will put pressure on the social media giant to bring about change.

Joe Yeager runs Safety Net of PA in Bucks County, which focuses on educating students about digital citizenship and cyber safety. He says racism on social media platforms is something all people, especially parents, should be concerned about.

"It’s about parents telling their children what is and is not acceptable online," Yeager told PBS39. "They need to get involved. So many times when I talk to parents and ask: What apps are your kids using? They tell me they have no idea. I say, are they on Instagram or TikTok? They say they don’t know."

If you see a racist post, he recommends a reaction method called “positive slamming.”

"It’s a practice where you stand up for someone. If you see someone being bullied in a school yard, hopefully, you would intervene. If you see someone being bullied online, you should intervene," said Yeager. "Just deleting or unfollowing them isn’t going to be enough, you need to be proactive and write that this is not acceptable."

Some companies began pulling their ads as early as last week. As a result, Facebook has already lost billions of dollars in stock value. The campaign is anticipated to last through the end of July.

PBS39 News ReportsTitle