TORONTO – Canada’s largest lenders confirmed on Friday that they have joined a widespread boycott of Facebook Inc (FB.O) launched by American civil rights groups seeking to pressure the world’s largest social media platform world to take concrete action to block hate speech.
More than 400 brands have removed Facebook advertising in response to the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, launched after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
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Canadian lenders Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO ) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) have all said they will suspend advertising on Facebook platforms in July.
Desjardins Group, the largest federation of credit unions in Canada, also said on its website on Thursday that it will stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month “except in exceptional situations where we must communicate with our members or clients ”.
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Most cited their commitments to inclusion and diversity.
Facebook opened up to a civil rights audit and banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram, a spokesperson said by email. His investments in artificial intelligence mean he finds nearly 90% of the hate speech he takes action on before users report it, he added.
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BMO said it was continuing its “ongoing dialogue with Facebook about the changes they can make to their platforms to reduce the spread of hate speech.”
RBC said one way to help customers and communities is to fight “misinformation and hate speech, which only makes systemic racism more prevalent.”
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