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On 24th November 2021, we announced we were jettisoning all Meta [formerly Facebook] platforms. We posted this on all our social media channels, which at the time included LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. On 7th December 2021, we will remove the Mia Bazo and Voyage Manager profiles from Facebook and Instagram.

We’ll refer to Facebook in this blog instead of Meta, because that’s what most people call the company.

After the announcement, we were surprised by how many people responded “Why?” We thought Facebook’s bad actions were well known to all. Apparently not. In an attempt to encourage other people and SMEs to question their participation in Facebook platforms, we’ll set out our reasons here.

We’re chuffed to say we’re in good company; congratulations to cosmetics company Lush. According to an article in Mashable, after Facebook’s own research showed that Instagram is bad for the health of young people, Lush decided to shut down its Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok accounts on 26th November. They’re expecting a £10 million loss as a result.

Just how harmful is Facebook?

Please don’t take our word for it; read the articles. We reference a few here, mostly from major, respected publications. There are hundreds more in smaller publications, but we figured we’d hit you with the big guns to prove we’re not nutters with a conspiracy theory.

In the Wikipedia article titled “Criticism of Facebook”, the authors cite media coverage of the company’s “tax avoidance, censorship policies, and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program”. They continue: “Facebook has come under scrutiny for ‘ignoring’ or shirking its responsibility for the content posted on its platform, including hate speech, incitement of rape and terrorism, fake news, murder, crimes, and violent incidents live-streamed through its Facebook Live functionality”.

A 6th October 2021 article in The Guardian additionally cited “the mass data collection and privacy invasion by Cambridge Analytica; the accusations of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election; unrestrained hate speech, inciting, among other things, genocide in Myanmar; the viral spread of disinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines”.

According to a 25th October 2021 Forbes article, Bloomberg, CNN, the Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times all reported that after the US Election Day in November 2020, Facebook had removed safeguards (which they had put in place before the election) that would have slowed the spread of incitement to violence in the run-up to the attack on the Capitol on 6th January 2021.

Why we made the decision

The new buzz term for Corporate Social Responsibility is ESG: Making commitments to the Environmental, Social, and Governance impact of our business on our planet. Our Climate Impact service demonstrates our convictions about the “E”.

We’re equally passionate about the “S” and the “G”. John is Scandinavian, so he believes in a very flat corporate structure that gives people the opportunity for autonomy and creativity, and is transparent about governance. I’m a child of the ‘60s, and have been building positive cultures in teams and small businesses since the late ‘70s. I’m devoted to communication, respect, dignity, psychological safety, diversity and inclusion. (And fun.)

John and I looked at each other last week, and said, “How can we say we’re committed to ESG and still use Facebook?” The only possible answer is: we can’t.

Why now?

We’re embarrassed it took this long. In the run-up to the company launch on 1st October 2021, there were so many moving parts, we reflexively implemented the usual social media channels.

There was no particular straw that broke the camel’s back. We had a growing feeling of hypocrisy every time we interacted with a Facebook platform, and we couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Will you join us?

J Laurence Sarno

J Laurence Sarno is co-founder and CMO of Mia Bazo, with more than 30 years in technology marketing. He led his first socially responsible company in the late 1970s and is passionate about ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance).

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