Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry are “freezing” their Instagram accounts on September 16 to send a message to Mark Zuckerberg, who owns the platform: stop allowing misinformation and hate to be shared on social media. “I love that I can connect directly with you through Instagram and Facebook, but I can’t sit by and stay silent while these platforms continue to allow the spreading of hate, propaganda and misinformation — created by groups to sow division and split America apart –- only to take steps after people are killed,” Kim wrote on Instagram the night before the freeze. Here’s five things you need to know about the movement:
1. The Instagram freeze was proposed by Stop Hate for Profit. Stop Hate For Profit is a coalition of civil rights organizations, which orchestrated the Facebook ad freeze in July 2020. The Instagram freeze is part of SHFP’s week of action, which began on September 14. “We are quickly approaching one of the most consequential elections in American history. Facebook’s unchecked and vague ‘changes’ are falling dangerously short of what is necessary to protect our democracy,” the organization wrote on their site.
“Facebook’s role in the Kenosha shooting— which was flagged as violating their policies hundreds of times– is a reminder that changing policies without changing enforcement means little. It reinforces the fact that lives are on the line.”
2. Stop Hate for Profit has a specific list of goals before the presidential election. Before November 3, SHFP is asking that Facebook (which owns Instagram) does the following:
- Take down groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and violent conspiracies
- Increase resources focused on monitoring groups for hate speech and violence
- Change platform policy to forbid any event page with a call to arms, as highlighted by the Change the Terms coalition.
- Commit 5% of their annual revenue to an independently administered fund to support initiatives, academics and organizations doing the work to fight against racism, hate and division caused by Facebook’s inaction
- Ensure accuracy in political and voting matters by eliminating the politician exemption
- Remove misinformation related to voting that has been debunked by credible fact checkers
- Prohibit calls to violence by politicians in any format.
3. Over a dozen celebrities have vowed to take part in the freeze. Kim and Katy are just the beginning. Stars like Mark Ruffalo, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rosario Dawson, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Lovato, and Jennifer Lawrence have all frozen their Instagram accounts. “The only thing more terrifying than Mark Zuckerberg surfing in whiteface is the white supremacy and lies Facebook spreads every day,” Sacha posted to IG, sharing the hilarious photo of Mark slathered in zinc on vacation.
“The hate that is constantly being uploaded and posted can’t be ignored anymore. All of the false information being spread right now is doing so much harm,” Demi posted on Instagram, while Kerry tweeted, “Misinformation can be harmful. It’s up to us to do our research and make sure what we’re sharing is correct information. It’s up to Facebook and other social platforms to stop the amplification of hate and the undermining of democracy.”
4. The reaction has been somewhat icy. Some social media users are accusing the Instagram freeze of being performative, much like when celebrities posted black squares on instagram for #BlackoutTuesday. “Way to take a risk people #dobetter,” one Twitter critic wrote, using the eye roll emoji. “These stunts are worthless if temporary and short-lived (which they always are.) If anything, they shine a light on the fact that we cannot live without these platforms since everyone always comes back (brands included.),” another Twitter user tweeted.
5. But the Instagram freeze is just the first of many steps proposed by Stop Hate For Profit. SHFP is hoping that the celebrity support doesn’t end after 24 hours. Sacha and Demi actually already have plans in the works. The Borat star and “Confident” singer are poised to start posting educational messages on their Instagram accounts following the freeze.