I am announcing today that my campaign is cancelling plans to advertise on Facebook in the final three weeks before the July 14th primary. Ours is the first political campaign in Maine that we are aware of to join the #StopHateForProfit boycott.
While my campaign has worked for months to assemble a ninth-inning plan using the powerful tools of the Facebook advertising platform, I am stepping away from that in order to support the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other groups fighting racism and anti-semitism. The point of this national concerted action is to pressure the social media giant to be more responsive in removing hateful content. Unfortunately, Facebook has a long record of unwillingness to curb racist, hate-filled and false posts made by some users. It can and must do better.
I am urging others to honor the boycott and pause Facebook advertising. It is not easy to change campaign plans suddenly–and it is especially painful for my campaign, given the strict limitations of running as a clean-election candidate–but I am more focused on doing what feels right in my heart, and amplifying the message that Black Lives Matter.
The boycott was announced last week in a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times. It calls upon potential advertisers to temporarily halt Facebook advertising for the month of July.
I am not naive. I am simply applying the same logic that leads me to take small steps to limit my own carbon footprint, even though the big players in global warming obviously have greater impact. Being small does not free one of the responsibility to do what they see is right. So, I am stopping plans to advertise on Facebook, and I hope others will do the same in trying to send a message that racist hate-speech is no longer acceptable on this platform.
(District 41 includes Deering Center, Deering Highlands, Woodfords Corner, parts of Oakdale, Libbytown, Rosemont, and the University of Maine School of Law neighborhoods. Absentee/early voting has already begun in the July 14 primary election).