Guest are welcomed by people in Facebook shirts as they arrive at a Facebook Canadian Summit in Toronto on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting wants the federal government to drop hosting its virtual Canada Day celebration on Facebook Inc. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan

Guest are welcomed by people in Facebook shirts as they arrive at a Facebook Canadian Summit in Toronto on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting wants the federal government to drop hosting its virtual Canada Day celebration on Facebook Inc. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan

Advocacy group calls on feds to pull Canada Day celebration from Facebook

Facebook declined to comment on the matter

Amid a growing advertiser boycott against Facebook, the federal government is being urged to unfriend the U.S. tech giant.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting wants the federal government to drop hosting its virtual celebration on Facebook because it says the social media giant is complicit in promoting racism, violence and misinformation.

“How can the government in good conscience encourage Canadians to visit this place, to have our civic festival on Facebook, to drive eyeballs and profits to Facebook, and to continue advertising with tens of millions of federal dollars every year to the company?” said Daniel Bernhard, the executive director of Friends, a grassroots organization that defends Canadian culture, democracy and journalism, but is not affiliated with any broadcasters.

“This is a U.S. brand that has been developing a very well-deserved reputation for ruining democracy and stability in the world….It makes no sense that the Government of Canada has to continue feeding this beast with public dollars and giving passive approval for the behaviour of this company.”

READ MORE: Facebook hit with $9M penalty for making ‘false, misleading’ privacy claims

Bernhard said the government has long argued that it must use Facebook because that is where the most people are, but his organization feels the company can’t continue to push the platform given its track record with hateful content and white supremacists.

The federal government’s Canada Day celebration will involve printable activity kits for kids, music playlists and two shows with performances from artists including Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, the Sheepdogs, Alanis Morissette and Haviah Mighty.

In addition to Facebook, the shows will air on YouTube, CBC, CPAC and Radio-Canada.

Facebook declined to comment on the matter and the department of Canadian heritage did not immediately offer a response to The Canadian Press when asked about the call to change its holiday activities.

The demand from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting comes as civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have launched the #StopHateForProfit boycott.

The boycott calls on major international brands to cease paid advertising on Facebook throughout July to make it clear that the Menlo Park, Calif. company has not done enough to keep racist, false and dangerous content or white supremacists off its platform.

Coca-Cola, Unilever, Honda America, Patagonia are among the dozens of international companies that have supported the boycott.

Lululemon Athletica Inc., Mountain Equipment Co-op, Arc’teryx and Moosehead Breweries have pledged to follow suit in Canada and were joined on Tuesday by Cineplex Inc., CAA Club Group and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

“We have seen some of the largest, most profit-seeking companies say that no amount of money is enough to justify the hate and incitement to violence and misinformation that Facebook has become synonymous with,” said Bernhard.

“It strikes me as very worrying that the Government of Canada now has a weaker moral position on fundamental matters of equity, justice and public safety than Coca-Cola and Unilever do.”

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Canada Dayfacebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Cover crops keep soil healthy and productive

We don’t harvest a cover crop and instead dig the tops under when they’re immature and soft

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Home is where you know your neighbours

My mom has lived at that address for 43 years.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read