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

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

The intersection of Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street, where a child was struck and injured in November 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
High-traffic Parksville intersection to get temporary 4-way stop

City staff to monitor effectiveness of traffic-calming measure at Despard and Moilliet

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Nanaimo flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

A motorcycle instructor going through a traffic cone course. (Photo courtesy of BC Traffic Services)
B.C. Traffic Services reminds drivers to share the road with motorcyclists

36 riders are killed in 2,400 crashes involving motorcycles on B.C. roads every year

Most Read