The Sussexes got involved with Facebook advertising boycott early in the campaign

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in South Africa

Earlier this week, we discussed the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, in which consumers and groups like the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League have applied pressure on companies about boycotting Facebook. Facebook has been problematic as hell for years, and the activities of neo-Nazis, Russians and conservatives on Facebook absolutely helped Donald Trump get elected in 2016. Facebook’s problems are bigger than Trump, and they go to the heart of what constitutes free speech and what constitutes hate speech. Anyway, we discussed the Stop Hate For Profit campaign through the prism of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, because they were reportedly involved in the campaign. In a NY Times report yesterday, the Sussexes’ involvement in the campaign is put into the context of the larger movement. Everything changed for Facebook within a week – it was just eight days ago that Mark Zuckerberg was telling advertisers that he wouldn’t ban Nazis and Russian propaganda farms from his platform. Now 300 companies have pulled their ads.

The company’s executives continued the campaign on Tuesday morning with another video meeting with advertisers, followed by separate sessions with ad holding companies. At the meeting, Facebook’s marketing chief, Carolyn Everson, public policy director, Neil Potts, and vice president for integrity, Guy Rosen, took a more conciliatory tone, acknowledging clients’ concerns about ads appearing next to hate speech and misinformation, said four people with knowledge of the event.

Yet even as Facebook has labored to stanch the ad exodus, it is having little effect. Executives at ad agencies said that more of their clients were weighing whether to join the boycott, which now numbers more than 300 advertisers and is expected to grow. Pressure on top advertisers is coming from politicians, supermodels, actors and even Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, they said. Internally, some Facebook employees said they were also using the boycott to push for change.

…Advertisers began taking action against Facebook’s handling of hate speech about two weeks ago while facing pressure from the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change and other civil rights groups. On June 19, the North Face and REI were among the first brands to join a boycott.

High-profile allies quickly joined in. Roughly 10 days ago, representatives for Prince Harry and Meghan reached out to the head of the Anti-Defamation League to ask how they could support the movement, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The couple called C.E.O.s at some of Facebook’s biggest ad buyers and implored them to stop their ad purchases, they said.

[From The NY Times]

This is for me, because I was curious about when Meghan and Harry did something and what they actually did (and my curiosity was read as somehow being “shady” but whatever). Now I know! Harry and Meghan got involved with the campaign just days after the organizing began, and they’ve been calling CEOs more than a week.

The Times also points out something I was also curious about, which is that the pandemic economy has meant that most companies with ad budgets are being choosier in general about how and where they spend their advertising dollars. Many of the companies pulling their Facebook ads have already seen their ad budgets decimated. Some companies are merely pulling their ads from Facebook for the month of July (which was part of the first wave of boycott plans). And other companies (like Starbucks) are simply not advertising on any social media platforms for a while. Still, despite the lack of uniformity with the “boycott,” I’m glad this is happening and I’m glad Harry and Meghan are a part of it.

Munich Security Conference

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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22 Responses to “The Sussexes got involved with Facebook advertising boycott early in the campaign”

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  1. JJ McClay says:

    F#ck Zuck. At a certain point you’re complicit, and that line is so far behind him, it’s gotten blurry in the rear view mirror.

  2. ziaaa says:

    Does anyone else get the heebie jeebies when they look at Zuckerburg and Jared Kushner? Both have such soulless eyes in their pale, shiny, emotionless faces…urghhhhh

  3. GR says:

    Imo worth noting the first two businesses into the boycott, REI and North Face. I’m going to try to think of reasons I need to buy camping equipment or a winter coat.

    • Harla says:

      You could buy a winter coat and donate it to someone who needs it but can’t afford it, just a thought.

  4. OSTONE says:

    Zuckerberg has so much money that generations of his descendants won’t be able to spend it all. When is it enough? Facebook is a cesspool and I hate that they own Instagram and Whatsapp.. I hope that this boycott hits him where it hurts the most.. his wallet and his massive ego.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Love these two. This will have a material impact on so many people. And just think, if they were still with the royal family, they would never have been “allowed” to be “political.”

    • Mac says:

      Harry and Meghan are among thousands of other activists have been calling CEOs as part of a public pressure campaign.

      • Lo says:

        Okay … and when people of a high profile add themselves to that it elevates the work of other activists. It’s called using your privilege. I don’t think anyone was implying that it was just them.

        Elizabeth is right, they wouldn’t have the same ability to harness that if they were part of the institution.

      • Mac says:

        It’s important to not erase the people who have been doing the hard work for years.

      • Lo says:

        You seem like you have a bone to pick that has a valid place outside this thread. This is a pop culture website and this article is specifically about Harry and Meghan’s involvement so excuse people for applauding them for their involvement. That’s not erasure.

      • Hyrule Castle says:


        That’s exactly what erasure is.
        You just proved the point.


      • BabsORIG says:

        @Hyrule, no its not and no point was proven!! You two are just trying to pick an unnecessary fight, geez. Take a chill pill, this is Celebitchy y’all.

      • BnLurkN4eva says:

        This is a good cause, they got involved using their enormous platform – this is a good thing. Isn’t this post about them?

  6. YT says:

    Harry and Meghan added tons a publicity and more status to the boycott, plus I bet their phone calls were put right through and the CEO’s listened to them. Their presence is valuable.

    • Harla says:

      I bet you’re right YT, that Harry or Meghan’s calls are put right through and they are listened to, that’s the right way to use one’s privilege.

  7. aang says:

    I’m so glad they are free to speak out now. I was a little suspect of them at first just because I’m so anti-monarchy / dynastic wealth but if they are doing good work I won’t complain.

  8. yinyang says:

    Good. Facebook comments are filled with extreme hate. Can’t let my teen go there just to read the news, it’s gotten so bad. The right wingers completely taken it over.

  9. BnLurkN4eva says:

    This is a cause I am watching closely because I can’t abide the hate online. I used to love posting online and then years ago I quit posting regularly because the level of hate got so awful that it would literally turn my stomach at the things people allowed themselves type. I hope something can be done to stem the tide because this can’t be healthy for young persons reading/writing this stuff. I am so thankful that I was largely raised before the advent of these popular platform and feel that young people have an extra burden of mental health worries from growing up with these various platforms and how ugly things sometimes get. I think I even remember the site that started the hate mongering outright. Televisionwithoutpity where posters could say any awful thing they wanted without being called out, it was downhill from there.

  10. Sam says:

    Dropped Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tumbler and all the rest over two years ago…most it started with FB after all the reports came out about the data breach and what they knew and when they knew it and did NOTHING about it. So yeah, I blame F#%k face Zuck for the Orange turd, his company helped to get him elected more than anything else…so yeah f-u to all of those “social media” sites…