World’s Largest Research Honor Society Halts Facebook Ads

July 21, 2020

Media Contact:
Heather Thorstensen
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society or (919) 549-4691 ext. 216

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society has indefinitely halted its ads on Facebook to urge the social media platform to demonstrate a commitment to ending its role in the dissemination of violent rhetoric, racial discrimination, and disinformation. 

“Sigma Xi’s Facebook ad restriction is aligned with our mission to promote evidence-based messages to the public, free from misinformation and discrimination,” Jamie Vernon, Sigma Xi executive director and CEO, said. “Facebook has become a source of false and misleading information on a range of issues that have grave impacts on the health and well-being of society, which conflicts with our goal of improving the human condition.” 

In June, Sigma Xi revised its agreement with NPS Media Group, which oversees audience development for the Society’s premiere publication, American Scientist, by suspending all advertising activities on the social media platform. In order to resume advertising on Facebook, Sigma Xi calls for the social media giant to demonstrate a substantive and robust commitment to quelling the spread of misinformation and restricting the use of the platform for inciting violence and promoting discrimination.

Facebook recently announced results of their civil rights audit and said that they are beginning the process to bring civil rights expertise in-house. They’ve also stated that they have expanded policies to fight voter suppression and are working to limit the spread of misinformation. 

But Sigma Xi’s leadership team, as well as a similar Facebook ad boycott called the Stop Hate for Profit campaign led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others, say the steps that Facebook are taking are not enough. 

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety