Jul 1, 2020

KIND’s Decision to #StopHateforProfit

Below is the note that I shared with the KIND Snacks team today.

KIND Team,

As we’ve sadly discussed on several occasions, the rise in polarization, tribal division, mistrust, prejudice and hatred is alarming and threatens to tear apart the social fabric that binds society together. Our mission to foster kindness and build bridges across lines of difference has never since our founding (or since I remember) been more urgent.

And yet, social media platforms – and particularly Facebook – have been exacerbating divisions and fueling hatred by knowingly allowing false and hateful information to permeate across their platforms.

We used to love that Facebook was a platform where you could know who users were and you felt connected to the community. But it has since been overtaken by fake accounts and trolls and tools of disinformation, bigotry and hatred. Its algorithms exacerbate division, as it has been documented that negative hateful stories get shared more; yet Facebook shut down efforts to address this problem. On top of this, Facebook does not take meaningful efforts to take down content that is demonstrably false, defamatory or hateful.

This must change, for the sake of Facebook regaining its role as a trusted platform, and, far more important, for the sake of society.

We’ve decided today that KIND – in the United States and across the 32 countries where we now operate – will vote with our advertising dollars in favor of truth, fairness, civility, and kindness. Most immediately, KIND is joining the Stop Hate for Profit initiative started by Color of Change, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL, whose Board I serve on), and others. We will pause our Facebook and Instagram advertising across all product lines starting July 1st through the close of the month.

While we set ambitious business objectives for July, which originally included a major new product campaign on Facebook, our team consulted with all our international and category partners and we all concluded that this was the right thing to do. We need to communicate to our counterparts at Facebook that, as much as we all care about financial objectives, protecting our society and stopping groups from undermining our democracy, our rule of law, and our social fabric matters far more.

Suspending our ad spend in July across all Facebook-owned properties is a meaningful message. But we also want to share that if these practices do not change – if Facebook doesn’t take visible, measurable and assertive efforts to effectively prevent the promotion of hate, division, defamation and misinformation by this year’s end – we will feel compelled to evaluate indefinitely suspending our investments in Facebook until they do so.

Sincerely,

Daniel Lubetzky

Democracy          Empathy          Leadership

More from Daniel

2022 High Point University Commencement Address

Today, I want to talk about a light and fluffy subject: your generation’s role in steering humanity in the right direction. No pressure, Dalton. 

But in all seriousness, Dalton, I love what you shared about “leaving everywhere you go better than you found it…and finding ways to give grace and inspiration to the people around you.”  

I want to talk today about HOW to do that as you are all simultaneously challenged and blessed with graduating as our world is re-entering a stage of dramatic consequence. 

The ship of humanity is moving in the wrong direction, and it will be upon all of you to steer it back on track. 

To illustrate this point, I want to compare the circumstances when my father’s generation came of age, to those when my generation and your generation graduated from college. 

My father was fifteen-and-a-half when he was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp by American soldiers. He was barely alive.  He never got to go to school past third grade, let alone college. Several of your grandparents were around your age when they were sent to free Europe from tyranny and darkness. 

By contrast, when I was fifteen years-old, my family immigrated to America from Mexico. I was able to attend college during a period when passionate but cordial debate was the norm. I remember observing political leaders vehemently disagree on a particular topic, while maintaining a friendship rooted in respect. Our world was far from perfect – but the arc of human progress trended in an upward direction. Freedom, open markets, human rights, civility, and the quest for knowledge were all advancing.  

It seemed almost too good to be true.  In fact, it was so good that we began to lose sight that Our Great American Experiment isn’t so much a fixed state of affairs as it is a purposeful daily affirmation – something that we opt into, live out, and vote for not once every four years, but every single day – through how we engage with one another. 

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