On The Listening Post this week: Big brands are part of an advertising boycott against Facebook over racist content and hate speech. Plus, lockdown TV puts bookshelves in the spotlight.
The Great Facebook Boycott: Will it make any difference?
The two biggest news stories of 2020 – the coronavirus pandemic and the racial inequality protests – have triggered what the United Nations calls a “tsunami” of hate speech – a surge in xenophobia online. The social media platforms involved now find themselves the focus of an advertising boycott – a campaign called “Stop Hate for Profit” – that is designed to get them to clean up their act, by hitting them where it hurts. The primary target has been Facebook. For years, Mark Zuckerberg and company have resisted demands to take a more active approach – a harder line – to moderating hateful content. Ninety-nine percent of Facebook’s revenue – $70bn last year – reportedly comes from advertising. However, given Facebook’s size, the boycott is unlikely to seriously damage its bottom line, at least in the short term.
Shoshana Wodinsky – enterprise reporter, Gizmodo
Nadine Strossen – professor, New York Law School and former president, ACLU
Jessica Gonzalez – Stop Hate for Profit campaign and co-CEO, Free Press
Sarah Roberts – Center for Critical Inquiry, UCLA and author, Behind the Screen
On our radar
Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about China’s new national security law for Hong Kong and its implications for the media; plus, the Iranian journalist sentenced to death simply for doing his job.
Framing the self: The rise of the bookshelf aesthetic
With the pandemic forcing so many of us to work from home, all kinds of talking heads – news anchors, interviewees, pundits and politicians – have had to redefine their “natural environments”. So you have been seeing a lot of bookshelves. They are the perfect solution. They provide a little visual texture – they do not distract – and they create the impression, true or not, that the talking head has actually read the books, maybe even written some of them. Creating a backdrop is an exercise in self-branding – it sends a message and speaks to your alleged credibility before you say a word. And this book-flaunting has led to a new genre of media critique: bookshelf analysis. The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips reports on judging a person by their bookish backdrop.
Tamar Garb – professor of art history, UCL
Bernie Hogan – senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
Hussein Kesvani – culture and technology journalist
Alex Christofi – editorial director, Transworld Books
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