Lessons learned from The North Face
Hey labelers, if you think you were boycotting Facebook then you probably haven’t heard the news. We think it’s important for you to understand Data Privacy and its relation to the Boycott against Facebook because it turns out that you can’t escape it.
Since Facebook and Civil Rights organizers have created the movement for #StopHateForProfit in concern of Facebook’s hate, misinformation, and paid advertisements, advertisers are having a hard time quitting Facebook.
Following the BLM Movement, there was an extreme plummet in companies advertising to support and elevate the awareness of black-owned businesses. This is where the #StopHateForProfit hashtag came about. The purpose of the #StopHateForProfit hashtag was to encourage businesses to pause their advertising during the month of July. The hashtag took off and influenced many companies to boycott Facebook advertising for a month.
NorthFace’s Attempt to Boycott Facebook
North Face’s recent campaign in support of the #StopHateForProfit against Facebook brings insight on secrets within data privacy that most people don’t even know about. In June & July, North Face quit all ad spending on Facebook and released the public statement on Twitter. That however didn’t stop the internet from investigating.
Shortly after, the writer for One Zero used a data logger tool when navigating North Face’s website. By doing so, he found that The North Face shares every interaction on their website with Facebook, therefore invalidating their entire campaign against them. Yikes!
How did this oversight happen, you ask? Data tracking. Data tracking when not using the social platform is called “Off-Facebook Activity”. In January, Facebook released this feature with new data privacy rules that include data being tracked regardless of whether a company is participating in ad spending with Facebook or not. Therefore, just because a company quit advertising with them, doesn’t mean your data isn’t still being shared because the online systems are inevitably linked; and therefore, benefiting Facebook.
When interactions from any website are shared with Facebook, it is allowing the platform access to your search history and can therefore place better ads on your feed. Facebook benefits from this by collecting endless amounts of data that aren’t linked to a “click” from their site and using this information to enhance their marketing and advertising. Because NorthFace’s website data was still being tracked from Facebook, they couldn’t fully Boycott the social network and therefore falsify their initial statement of “We’re in. We’re out”.
Can you fully boycott Facebook? How Can You Try?
This has been a raising question as more businesses decide to permanently leave Facebook advertising, totaling over 1,000 last week. We have done some of the research for you labelers and after a congressional meeting this past week, found some answers. Unfortunately, no it is not possible to fully boycott Facebook even if you stop participating in ad spending with the platform. This type of technical oversight is a rather prominent problem when trying to boycott Facebook where companies are still receiving data from them. Essentially, you may have hit pause on the machine but it’s still collecting data and there is no real stop button.
Unfortunately for smaller businesses that desperately rely on this form of advertising for the majority of their sales, boycotting Facebook isn’t necessarily an option for them. However, this doesn’t always mean that they are supporting Facebook’s actions, they may just be left with no choice. In order to make sure you are supporting the small businesses that stand with the #StopHateForProfit movement, it is important for everyone to do research on small businesses and the values they stand behind.
If you want to Boycott Facebook, here’s how many are taking action.
Like we mentioned, doing so isn’t easy but if you feel compelled, here are some ways we are seeing people boycott Facebook.
- Support — Don’t support online E-Commerce sites on Facebook unless they are local/small-owned.
- Engage — The less engagement on Facebook, the fewer ads you’re being tracked for.
- Ad Spending — Re-allocate funds for social media exposure elsewhere
- Reach out to Facebook — Instead, contact civil rights groups and fellow boycott companies and ask how you can get involved.