By on June 29, 2020

American Honda has joined a cadre of sizable brands opting to pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram in order to “stand with with people united against hate and racism.” It’s part of a broader campaign, called #StopHateforProfit, in which activists push brands to boycott social media giants until they enact stricter regulations about what constitutes actionable language that should be censored/penalized.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen numerous companies adopt the increasingly popular campaign, yet the reasons for doing so seem as varied as their individual terms and conditions. Multinational consumer goods company Unilever said it will scrap all social media advertising for the remainder of 2020 in the United States. While most attribute this primarily to hate-speech concerns, the company also noted that the contentious political climate on those platforms (including Twitter) having become undesirable for its own advertising purposes. Coca-Cola is similarly pausing social media spending for a few weeks, it’s made it clear that it’s not joining the official boycott, despite claims to the contrary in the news.

While Honda’s involvement in the movement is a little easier to follow, there are still a few twist and turns.

The automaker’s boycott only lasts one month and will not incorporate Twitter, which often serves as a display board for corporate announcements. Honda did issue a general press release, however, going into great detail to explain what we had hoped would have been obvious. It took some direct action to support minority communities as well — making sure to mention them in the release.

Curiously, Honda recently announced it would advance its “The Power Of Something Greater” advertising campaign across social media. The marketing theme revolves around the company’s pledge to communities and customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by “adding meaning to The Power of Dreams during these unprecedented times.” It’s focused almost entirely on social media. While we’re sure it’s an accident, potentially as the result of awkward timing, the two campaigns are largely at odds with each other.

Unless the manufacturer plans to delay pandemic-related content until the August, or just keep everything isolated to Twitter, the coronavirus content technically undermines the #StopHateforProfit commitment just by existing.

With corporate finances in a bad way and social media having become a minefield for any and all posters, we would imagine other automakers will enjoy taking a break from advertising while earning some free press for doing so. Honda may just be the first of many automakers to join in.

[Image: Anastasiia Moiseieva/Shutterstock]

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41 Comments on “Honda ‘Boycotts’ Facebook and Instagram...”


  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    The Left always eats its own. Is this really about lowing Facebook’s ad rates because of its almost monopoly while appearing to out “Virtue Signal” its competition?

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      You do realize that Facebook and Twitter are not platforms for free speech, right? They’re private companies, they can promote or block whatever content they see fit. Please, tell me the law that can be enforced to require Facebook and Twitter to police themselves and do the right thing?
      Go ahead, take all the time you need.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Bet you are all about that sweet net neutrality though and telling companies that built out networks how they must now prioritize traffic on those networks.

        And we regulate stuff like that all the time…or did I miss where private businesses can use phrases like “we don’t serve your kind here” or “Help Wanted…No Irish need apply”

        The government is very adept at telling private business things they can or can’t do. People tend to notice less when those things echo their views though.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Everybody supports free speech until they don’t like the message.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Truth.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Haven’t you heard? Money *is* speech. The Supreme Court said so.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Free speech comes with the responsibility to refrain from saying things that can cause harm and/or oppress. It can be a fine line. If people won’t censor themselves then who will?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        What you’re describing isn’t free speech, but self-censorship. The problem with “hate Speech” is that whoever defines it can use it as a political weapon.

        The Constitution makes no exception for any kind of speech. The courts have, but only in very specific cases, like yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, where harm to the public is a likely outcome.

        The very purpose of free speech is to protect minority opinion, no matter how small or disgusting to the many, from the tyranny of the majority. The founders gave us a republican (small-r = representative) form of government rather than democracy, specifically to protect ALL opinion, even the pig-headed variety, from that tyranny of the majority.

        Large corporations are not run by altruistic, laissez-faire minded people. They’d actually prefer crony capitalism, where the government determines winners, as long as they can lobby that government to their advantage.

        Large corporations may think they’re helping clean up social media, but they’re actually weakening it. The public is fickle, and will move on to other platforms and activities. The losers will be Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and other social media founders, who will become mere mega-rich, instead of giga-rich. Shed a tear for them, if you’re so disposed.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          What I’m describing is being responsible for what one says and using empathy to ensure that it doesn’t harm another. It can be called self-censorship but perhaps the word I should have used is self control. It’s far easier to hide behind “free speech” and not exercise self control.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Maybe that’s true as a moral proposition but to make it a government mandate would be very very dangerous. Who decides what is hurtful? If I disagree with you, that’s probably hurtful. So decision making on this I can’t even picture. The answer to bad speech is more speech.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        “Free speech comes with the responsibility to refrain from saying things that can cause harm and/or oppress.”

        The First Amendment places no such duty on a person exercising their right to free speech. The framers of the Constitution, and subsequent Supreme Court opinions interpreting the First Amendment, recognize the danger of regulating speech. “Harm and/or oppress?” Seems pretty subjective to me, though mobs are trying to impose this standard right now. You may feel this is great because their current viewpoints might mirror your own, but that won’t last.

        As Justice Louis Brandeis once held, “the answer to bad speech is more speech.” Unfortunately, our universities have been churning out students incapable of analytical argument, so this cancel culture we’re now seeing has developed and is now rearing its ugly head.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          @Lorenzo, @Superdessucke,

          Yup. Free speech: 1) Allows people to say, with impunity, things which other may not like; 2) Puts the burden of deciding what to believe on the listener/reader — requiring, practically speaking, some ability to think analytically.

          Social media is a rather bizarre thing. People seem to think that it is public (freedom of speech should be guaranteed) and private (their data is safe from prying eyes). It is not public. And, IMO, anyone who puts info on social media should not put anything there that would harm them if it should become public knowledge.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Old_WRX – the ability to think analytically is exceptionally rare. People default to conformational bias. They don’t seek the truth. They seek to confirm what they think is true.
            That is why social media is dangerous. Algorithms linking likeminded people doesn’t differentiate between those into hanging baskets or those into hanging blacks.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Their money and their right to spend their advertising dollars where they want

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      ….”Their money and their right to spend their advertising dollars where they want” Not the point of the article.

      But cheers to the use of argumentative deflection. No one argues its their money and they can spend where they want. On your side of the spectrum: doing what we want with our money is a no go zone. See Taxation, free speech etc.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Whether you agree with the message or not, social media has become a trashheap that doesn’t deserve ANY advertising dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      Menar Fromarz

      Isn’t that spot on. And the rates are ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, but since that’s where most of the people go that’s were the advertisers want to be. Few people read magazines/newspapers or watch conventional TV anymore

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      True. It’s become a sewer.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I’d LOVE to see just cat pictures on FB now!

        Of course EVERYTHING nowadays is political!

        As I said in this forum last week, I wish it would just STOP for ONE DAY, just to let the world catch its collective breath!!

        The number 13 and the number 666 were having an argument at the bar as to who was worse! Then 2020 walks up and says “hold my beer!”

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          “As I said in this forum last week, I wish it would just STOP for ONE DAY, just to let the world catch its collective breath!!”

          I couldn’t agree more. These endless snarly fits…

  • avatar
    ajla

    The legendary commitment to racial inclusion of the Japanese automakers.

    • 0 avatar
      lstanley

      I would love to see where all the US executives send their kids to school because it’s an important measurement of a leadership being truly “united in the pursuit of equality and justice.”

      (It’s pretty quickly evident there’s not too many Minnesota Fortune 500 executives with kids at Minneapolis North, Patrick Henry, or Roosevelt HS.”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Istsanley- In BC where I live, the previous government cut back on school funding and allowed increased classroom sizes. Research by journalists showed that most of those politicians were sending their kids to private schools. It isn’t much different for the corporate elites funding them.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Interesting. I would have figured that with how long the left has been running Minneapolis that the schools would be excellent regardless of where you live and the cops would be fair and just regardless of race. Wow I for one am totally shocked that the case. Who Knew?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “The legendary commitment to racial inclusion of the Japanese automakers.”

      Yeah, funny that, huh? They’re just playing to their market

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Altruistic messaging from Honda is a bit suspect. When Honda looked for locations for the erection of US manufacturing facilities in the late ’70s – early ’80s, great care was taken to ensure that the source of workers was from a desired demographic and to discourage those of another demographic. There was some discussion about this at that time.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      What, because Japanese automakers aren’t necessarily racially inclusive, they can’t ever try to do better?

      Having said that, though, stuff like this is easy to do. Real inclusivity is far harder.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Having said that, though, stuff like this is easy to do. Real inclusivity is far harder.”

        That’s my point.
        I don’t believe their words are sincere and their history agrees with me but maybe they will prove me wrong.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I’m just hoping Honda doesn’t offend me before the next round of stimulus payments, because I have to admit I’ve been thinking hard about an Africa Twin.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      LOL. Honda cars and motorcycles may be under the same corporate umbrella but are run separately.

      You can always get a KTM. Here is a tidbit…KTM uses WP shocks/forks. WP is short for “White Power”. They ditched that name for obvious reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I’m a little familiar with KTM :). I don’t know what it is about the AT though, it’s really been an itch in the back of my head for the last year or so.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Get the Africa Twin. The KTM is a bit more fun to ride, but in my experience, you can ride Honda more because the KTM needs to visit the shop more often. Possibly I am clouded because Africa Twins were forbidden fruit for most of my dual sport phase.

  • avatar

    It is Honda’s business how to spend their money. I do not know why it is in the news.

    Also in the news: I decided to cancel my account in Verizon and signup to Goggle FI and save $50 in process.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Old_WRX – the ability to think analytically is exceptionally rare. People default to conformational bias. They don’t seek the truth. They seek to confirm what they think is true.
    That is why social media is dangerous. Algorithms linking likeminded people doesn’t differentiate between those into hanging baskets or those into hanging blacks.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      @Lou_BC,

      “They seek to confirm what they think is true.” So, true. And, many times I’ve found myself doing the same thing. It is easy to fall into conformity — conformity to ones own bias or to the popular bias. Unfortunately our society does not foster maturity in the individual and does not value wisdom — which I suppose explains, at least in part, how we got to where we are now.

      When people demand immediate answers to complex questions it means they demand that you agree with them.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Most large companies are fiercely protective of their brands’ identities and associations. This can be so fierce that they have lists of specific words or concepts that they don’t want their brands’ advertisements to appear next to. These lists often grow but rarely shrink.

    I’d bet dollars-to-donuts that this is why… The lists have gotten so large and social media has become such a “wild west” area with respect to what people are saying that it’s nearly impossible for the marketing departments to ensure that their brands don’t show up next to topics they want to avoid.

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    After reading a few comments here. I realized that most Americans have very little knowledge of the constitution. Most people assume what the news told them to be correct. We are giving up our rights with out knowing what we are doing. Big tech are private companies that are looking out for their best interests. Congress should take away their exemption. Reading the constitution and getting a 90% grade on it should be taken before having the right to vote. Did you know the reason the electoral college was put in place because of the founders wanted voters to be informed and make rational decisions.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I wonder what role Google has in any of this. Isn’t Facebook the only substantial competitor to AdSense for advertising dollars? We all know Google dives into any kind of diversity/”social justice” initiative to the exclusion of all reason once they convince themselves it’s morally superior to do so. If they could twist arms by contemplating the modification of their prioritization algorithm to consolidate their monopoly advertising position in the name of social justice, why that’s doing good work!

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