Ben & Jerry’s says it will no longer buy paid advertising on Twitter, citing an increase in hate speech on the platform. The company is calling on its business partners to do the same.
Management is not only troubled by hate speech from those across the social network, but also the speech of Elon Musk, the site’s owner.
“Hate speech is up dramatically while content moderation has become all but non-existent,” according to a post on the company’s site. “In addition to the changes on the platform that have led to an increase in hate speech, Musk himself has doubled down on dangerous anti-democratic lies and white nationalist hate speech.”
Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue for the five weeks from April 1 2023, to the first week of May was $88 million, down 59% from a year earlier, according to an internal presentation obtained by The New York Times. The company continues to fall short of its U.S. weekly sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30%, the document stated.
Ben & Jerry's, in the post, called Twitter a “threatening” and “dangerous” place for women, the gay community, Jewish and Muslim people, racial minorities, and many other groups. It said “every dollar we spend in the course of our day-to-day operations is an opportunity to advance our progressive values.”
Until Twitter ends the “extremist and violent content on the platform, Ben & Jerry’s will spend no money with Twitter. The company plans to remain on the platform to connect with its community, but will revisit that presence as needed pending developments in this space.
It was around the same time that Twitter blogged about the company commitment to public conversations, and how its Trust & Safety team continues to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter's rules.
Ben & Jerry’s for years has been known for advocating activism and promoting progressive values that attract controversy. Some may not think that the activism around “trans rights” and “LGBQ+ rights” could be connected to ice cream, but executives who run the ice cream giant seem to think it does.
The company has an “Activism” section on its website listing the movements it supports, such as racial justice, fair trade, rights and dignity or refugees, and campaign finance reform, just to name a few.
Outspoken and insistent about many causes, under the heading of Activism, the company states: “we love dough so much, we invented Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. But dough doesn’t mix so well with democracy. In fact, there’s so much big money flooding into our elections in the United States that the voice of regular folks is being drowned out.”
In 2021, the company said it would stop selling its ice cream in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, citing the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians for a potential future state are “inconsistent” with its values.
Unilever, which bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, said in 2022 it would sell the business in Israel to a local company that would sell the ice cream under its Hebrew and Arabic name throughout Israel and the West Bank, according to the Associated Press.