Kim Kardashian West is many things: sister, mother, put-upon spouse, long-reigning TV star, social-justice advocate, near-billionaire. It seems she’d also like to be considered something of a hero for standing up to Facebook.
Kardashian West is one of nearly two dozen celebrities taking part in #StopHateForProfit, an anti-Facebook
#StopHateForProfit’s goals are laudable. Hate speech proliferates across social media, and Facebook has been slow to enact policies to tamp down on it. But there’s nothing heroic about Kardashian West going silent on Instagram and Facebook for a day.
That’s praise worth bestowing on her if she deleted her accounts on those platforms for good.
You see, social media is the beating life force of the Kardashian-Jenner clan. It underpins nearly all of their enterprises—from Kylie’s cosmetics to Kardashian West’s underwear company, SKIMS. Kardashian West alone is one of the world’s most watched people on social media with 188 εκατομμύρια οπαδοί Instagram και 30 million on Facebook. She shills her products to this audience, leveraging a nearly cost-free marketing platform that reaches an audience bigger than the population of most nations. (Only seven countries in the world actually total more than 200,000 people.) To a lesser extent, Kardashian West also acts a spokesperson for non-Kardashian brands on her social media feeds—posting an Instagram picture to showcase things like HiSmile teeth-whitening products—a venture for which she probably earns more than a quarter-million dollars a pop. (A spokesperson for Kardashian West did not return a request to comment for this story.)
If she really wanted to take a stand against Facebook, she’d give this up and switch to advertising through traditional channels: TV, print, radio, whatever. She’d put herself and her companies at some risk to do this, and it would raise costs and lower profits for her, morality often being an expensive passion to pursue.
But going off Facebook and Instagram for a day will cost her not a cent. It is another bit of canny marketing, a skill seemingly bestowed upon a Kardashian-Jenner at birth. Given the prevailing antipathy toward Facebook among many Americans, the 24-hour boycott could actually wind up being lucrative—should people come away with a higher perception of her for doing so, perhaps plunking down even more dollars on Kardashian West merchandise in an eagerness to support Kim’s gesture of support.
Is it too much to ask a business person to blow up her business to take a stand against something? Well, if it does seem too much, here’s another suggestion for Kardashian West. How about a pledge to turn down any more advertising dollars from Facebook?
Yes, by Forbes’ estimates, Kardashian West last year earned at least $1 million as a spokesperson for Facebook’s video-calling device, Portal, a campaign that involved a TV spot Και τουλάχιστον one Instagram post.
It does seem only reasonable to expect someone eager to be a chief voice of criticism against a company to never take money from it again.