Facebook Marketing Gone Awry – A Tale of Venom and Hate

Facebook needs to do a lot more to stop hate speech, especially hate speech attacking marginalized communities.

Time for me to rant a little.

This will probably be my last blog I pay to promote on my business Facebook.  Why?  Part of my marketing budget goes toward promoting my diversity blogs on Facebook, but now I am increasingly being bombarded by hate – which Facebook refuses to acknowledge or dialogue with me about. Perhaps this blog and my story of Facebook and hate will be read by some Facebook professionals who will want to engage with me and see if this can be fixed… I do have some positive, constructive suggestions.

Let me explain the situation.

I am a diversity consultant and trainer and write 2-3 blogs per month on a variety of topics. They include addressing racism, the value of diversity, being an ally, supporting the LGBTQ community, hiring veterans, addressing Islamaphobia and more. Then I write a one or two sentence summary with a link and pay Facebook to push the ad to people interested in these particular topics.

Now here is the issue … when I specify that I want a blog summary and link targeted to people interested in anti-racism, or the LGBTQ community, or diversity trainers for example, I am trying to appeal to people who are interested in those topics with a desire to learn or find resources. But the Facebook algorithm pushes the ad to all people who have commented or engaged around those topics, including those who write nasty comments about those topics.

Now whenever I promote a blog on a diversity topic, I often receive 20 – 30 comments, 95% of them nasty and hateful. A small handful voice disagreement in a respectful way that encourages a dialogue, but a vast majority are hateful nasty comments about the group I am writing about, or personal attacks telling me I can go to a certain very hot place, or to copulate with myself (I assume you get the drift.)

Why are there so many toxic people who only want to spread poison everywhere?

Some of these comments are truly over the top. Examples:
• When one young gay man who got fired from his job for being gay  found my blog encouraging, another reader called him a faggot who deserved to be fired, and should go to hell. (I reported this to Facebook and they replied this did NOT violate their community standards.)
• In response to a blog fighting Islamaphobia, someone posted a photo of an Arab holding a severed baby head declaring that the intent of all Muslims in the US was to kill our children.
• One women summarily declaring that transgender people are all mentally ill.

Often I will check the Facebook feed of the individuals who write this stuff, and normally 80% of their feeds are nasty hateful attacks of people who are not like them. Their Facebook feeds are full of hate, nastiness and poison.

Sadly, having diverse people who may read my posts, but then see these harmful nasty comments before I get a chance to remove them, may cause more harm than good, so I think I will stop using Facebook marketing. I have tried to engage Facebook on this issue, and I even have some suggestions in how to fix and address this, but Facebook refuses to engage with me.  We really do need a safe space for nurturing forums for marginalized communities void of hate and attacks.

Thanks for listening to and reading this rant.

Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter

Every year since the Stonewall Rebellion in Greenwich Village, New York City in late June, 1969, June has been traditionally observed initially as Gay Pride Month, and now LGBTQ Pride Month. But this year, all in person June celebrations and parades have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now everything has been overshadowed (and rightfully so) by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. His murder combined with the additional recent unaddressed murders of Breonna Taylor (Louisville, Kentucky) and Ahmaud Arbery (South Georgia) has now led to ongoing mass demonstrations around the world against racism and police brutality.

So I do feel it is important for the LGBTQ+ communities to pause and recognize the intersections between racism and “The Black Lives” matter movement with LGBTQ Pride and ongoing battle for LGBTQ equality. Here are 5 intersections:

1) Built upon the base. Though June is LGBTQ Pride Month, we all must place the highest priority on the most recent events around the murder of George Floyd, and the need for community and national engagement with the never-ending work that must continue around addressing systemic racism (see my earlier blog on personal and systemic racism). LGBTQ+ people and allies must be involved and take action around racism, recognizing that much of LGBTQ+ equity progress has been built upon the foundations of racial equity work. Let us never forget and be always grateful of the path Black Americans and racial justice activists paved for LGBTQ+ equity.

Bayard Rustin was the main organizer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington on leading gay rights advocate in the 1970s and 1980s.

2) Intersectionality. Everyone is comprised of a complex mix of their own unique diversity attributes, and we really cannot simply separate one attribute of our diversity and consider it in isolation of our full selves. We have to consider our own race, gender, abilities, etc. as we consider our queer identities.

3) Oppression and issues. Many of the same issues impacting communities of color also impact LGBTQ communities. These include issues of healthcare discrepancies, issues around education, economic development and employment, etc.

4) The importance of allies. Racism is an issue that the white majority must own and take strong action to fix. The issues around racism cannot be laid at the feet of black people to fix; it is the white majority in power that built and controls the mechanisms that perpetrate systemic racism. In the same way, the LGBTQ community must rely and value the work of our straight and cisgender allies who advocate for our equality. Furthermore, many Black organizations, like the NAACP, have been strong allies to the LGBTQ community and include our issues prominently in their work. Link to archive of the NAACP’s LGBTQ equality work.

5) Commons foes. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities must realize that we do face commons foes; whether it be well-intentioned people who may not know how to engage us in the best way, or mean-spirited bigots who want to hold on to their power and oppress others. Marginalized communities must unite to engage and build allies while building larger coalitions to fight discrimination and oppression.

May we all work together to build a stronger nation and stronger world where we all leverage our diversity for the common good of all.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training,  Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me for your diversity speaking or training needs, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]