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‘Too big to fail’: why even a historic ad boycott won’t change Facebook

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July 11, 2020 at 06:00AM

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The company has survived previous seemingly existential crises with little damage to its monarchical structure

On the evening of 13 July 2013, a few hours after George Zimmerman was acquitted over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza logged on to her Facebook account and typed a phrase that would change the world: “#blacklivesmatter”. A few minutes later, she posted again: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”

That Facebook played a small role in the inception of a movement that may have become the largest in US history is the kind of story that the embattled company likes to point to when it makes its case that it does more good than harm. CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasted of the hashtag’s origin on Facebook in October 2019, when he delivered a speech about his view of free expression at Georgetown University.

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