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Celebrities took a day off social media in protest. Did you notice?


by Holly O'Neill
17th Sep 2020

Yesterday, celebrities were boycotting Facebook and Instagram for a day in protest of hate speech and misinformation on social media


On September 16, a host of celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington and Mark Ruffalo took a day off social media in protest of Facebook’s allowance of the rise of hate speech.

Did you notice?

A similar celebrity “vow of silence” took place back in 2010, when celebrities refused to update their Facebook and Twitter accounts until $1 million was raised for a children’s HIV and AIDS charity. You had two options, live in a world where children die of HIV and AIDS, or live in a world where Kim Kardashian doesn’t tweet. Nobody noticed the disappearance of celebrities then either.

Nowadays, we know better. These days, we protest online by posting hot black and white selfies and arguing in the comments about how they are actually not merely hot selfies but clearly, women’s empowerment. Hashtag real kweens fix each other’s crowns.

“I love that I can connect directly with you through Instagram and Facebook,” Kim Kardashian posted on social media, “but I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation – created by groups to sow division and split America apart – only to take steps after people are killed. Misinformation shared on social media has a serious impact on our elections and undermines our democracy. Please join me tomorrow when I will be “freezing” my Instagram and FB account to tell Facebook to StopHateForProfit.”

 

We’ve seen our own protests spreading misinformation led by the least rousing men imaginable, Irish Big Brother contestant DJ Spiral (no, me either) and Jim Corr, the human equivalent of “fine, you can go but you have to bring your brother.” Comprehensible, in a country where almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Not so much in a country so anti-intolerance that it became the first on planet Earth to legalize gay marriage. Then again, no matter how unprecedented the times, I don’t think anyone had Jedward being our resistance fighters in mind for 2020.

In July, major brands and corporations also paused their ad spend on Facebook to fight hate speech, ahead of America’s election and rising misinformation, racism and bigotry on the platforms.

It is a noble offering, that any celebrity would take a stand when websites spreading misinformation about health attracted nearly half a billion views on Facebook in April alone, but one day without Kim is hardly going to make that big of a hit on their revenue.

Even with the boycott from major ads and corporations, Facebook’s revenue rose.

Now what would really kick Instagram and Facebook into action would be if these celebrities deleted their accounts. What is the sum of one Kardashian? Let’s take Kim, who reportedly makes $1 million per Instagram post. How much does Instagram make from her? Surely to delete their profiles would have much more bargaining power.

I guess, if we want to force change from these platforms, we can’t expect to leave it to those who have a powerfully financial vested interest in conserving the current system.

Look, at least celebrities have given up on the singing.

Photography by Stop Hate For Profit.

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