Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Calls for advertisers to boycott Facebook grew this week, amid increased scrutiny around the tech giant for the way it moderates content.

Why it matters: Tension between advertisers and the tech giant have existed for years, but now — as the country faces a reckoning over longstanding systemic racism — marketers feel more compelled to take a public stand against companies that waffle on filtering hate speech.

Driving the news: The North Face, the outdoor apparel brand, became the first major marketer on Friday to announce that it is boycotting the use of Facebook advertising.

  • Also, in an email to clients obtained by The Wall Street Journal Friday, 360i, a digital-ad agency owned by global ad holding group Dentsu Group Inc., urged its clients to support the ad boycott being advocated by civil rights groups.

What they're saying: "We deeply respect any brand’s decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information," Facebook's VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said in a statement to Axios. "Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good."

Catch up quick: The push for an ad boycott began last week, when six civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, began urging marketers to stop buying ads on Facebook, using the hashtag #stophateforprofit, in a bid to pressure the company to take firmer action against hate speech and other harmful material.

  • Facebook critics like Sleeping Giants, a social media activist organization, and early Facebook investor-turned critic Roger McNamee quickly started to pressure marketers on social media using the hashtag.

Yes, but: Scattered boycotts rarely amount to any real revenue losses for the company, which saw almost $70 billion in ad revenue last year — although revenue is expected to come in nearly $16 billion below original estimates this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeper: A trickle of Facebook advertisers depart in protest

Go deeper

For tech's big four, big contrasts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four firms —Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple — now form the de facto roster of Big Tech, thanks to Congress' decision to interrogate their CEOs together at a landmark antitrust hearing Monday. (Sorry, Microsoft, but maybe it's for the best.)

The big four share enormous power, massive resources, high ideals and, more recently, troubled public images. But there are enormous differences among them, too — and their leaders will be leaning on those contrasts as lawmakers grill them.

Jul 27, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: Texas AG probing Facebook over biometric data

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Texas is investigating Facebook for possibly running afoul of state laws on the collection of biometric data, according to June documents uncovered by a tech watchdog group.

The big picture: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has emerged as a key tech investigator, and going after Facebook for illegally harvesting biometric data may be a fruitful line of inquiry. Facebook users in Illinois secured a major settlement over the issue.

Facebook wants to use a bot-populated simulation to fend off scams in the real world

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

We now have a closer look at Facebook researchers' "WW" project, a parallel-world version of the social network populated entirely by bots, via The Verge's James Vincent.

Why it matters: The simulation of the entirety of the social network is designed to help the company anticipate and forestall new forms of online mischief and scams using a copy of Facebook's actual codebase.