Feeling empowered to walk away when things go bad is key to all healthy relationships.
On Monday, the CEO of the online therapy app Talkspace provided a perfect example of that very behavior by ending his company’s planned partnership with Facebook. According to a statement shared online, CEO Oren Frank was sick of all the racism — not to mention violence and lies — Facebook incites.
As the country reels from the police killing of George Floyd and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to allow Donald Trump to threaten Black Lives Matter protesters with death, Frank appears to have made the reasonable call to distance his mental health-focused brand from Facebook.
“We at @Talkspace discontinued our partnership discussions with @Facebook today,” wrote Frank. “We will not support a platform that incites violence, racism, and lies. #BlackLivesMatter”
Notably, this decision will actually cost Talkspace money. In conversation with CNBC, Frank said the now-abandoned deal was worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and involved providing therapy, free of charge, to certain unspecified groups.
Frank, it seems, doesn’t think social media is a positive factor in the world. On Sunday, May 31, he tweeted an article comparing social media to cigarettes.
“Written in 2016, I’m afraid this piece is more relevant than ever,” wrote Frank of the HuffPost article titled “Social Media Will Soon Become The New Cigarettes.”
Facebook, for its part, has already attempted to co-opt the negative response to Zuckerberg’s defense of Trump’s violent rhetoric. Following Facebook employees’ digital walkout on Monday, company higher-ups stated the action is Facebook approved.
Facebook now tells me they support the employees walking out in protest of the Trump post decision and therefore will not be making them spend one of their PTO days on a walkout
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) June 1, 2020
Outside action that comes at a financial cost to brands, like that taken by Talkspace, will be more difficult for Facebook to spin — especially should more companies follow Talkspace’s lead and walk away from what is clearly a toxic relationship.