Growing concerns over Meta business practices
Dear Mark Zuckerberg, dear Sheryl Sandberg,
The Meta platforms of Facebook and Instagram have been increasingly relied upon social media tools for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE). Both channels allow the CTF/FCE to communicate its work to its Member and Associate Organizations, and, by extension, to many of their more than 365,000 teachers and education support workers throughout Canada.
However, growing concerns over Meta’s policies, business practices, and negative societal impacts have led the CTF/FCE to reconsider its use of and relationship with Facebook and Instagram. Information disclosed in the “Facebook Papers” alarmed the CTF/FCE. The following are some examples of disturbing Meta practices that came to light and are of particular concern to our membership:
- Amid Facebook’s push for user attention, it abandoned or delayed initiatives to reduce misinformation and radicalization;
- Facebook’s algorithm gave emoji reactions like “angry” five times the weight as “likes,” boosting these posts in its users’ feeds to keep them engaged, and keeping users engaged was the key to Facebook’s business;
- UN human rights investigators have concluded that hate speech on Facebook played a key role in fomenting violence in Myanmar;
- Posts, hashtags, images, and search terms promoting and glamorising eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are common on Instagram.
After a review of the “Facebook Papers”, and as a result of clashing values between the CTF/FCE and Meta, the Board of Directors passed a motion at its April 2022 meeting, “that the CTF/FCE cease paying for advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and any other associated Meta products, at least until such time as their policies and practices better align with the values of the CTF/FCE.”
Over the past three years, the CTF/FCE has paid Meta to advertise various national campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. Although the decision to no longer pay for advertising has the potential to limit the reach of the CTF/FCE and its work, upholding the values of the organization is more important than increasing visibility.
The CTF/FCE is aware that we are but one client among many around the world that pay for advertising on Meta platforms, but it is vital that the organization sends a clear message that Meta’s current practices are detrimental to well-functioning societies and do not align with the values ingrained in quality publicly funded public education in Canada. From this first step aimed at encouraging change, we would welcome the day when Meta platforms support the values we hold dear, and we look forward to hearing from you.
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation
Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession. As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 365,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.
Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE)