Retailers once again find themselves in the middle of a political and cultural fight, and many have simply stopped making sense. Real companies and real jobs are at risk based on knee-jerk responses to misinformation.
Consumer boycotts based on cultural or religious beliefs are nothing new, Target and Barilla pasta are just two of the many covered here at length. But recently social media is helping to fuel many knee jerk reactions that are turning concerned citizens and advocates into actual jerks that may be doing more harm than good for their causes.
Search online for “social media boycott” and find reports and comments urging people to boycott company X over issue Y where “X” is nearly any big brand name, and “Y” is usually a political issue. The social media memes are often based on falsehood, exaggeration and misinformation. Because, you know, if its on social media, it must be true!
The way social media is used – routinely – is reckless and dangerous, causing hurt to real people and disrupting the economy. Social media is also used to organize disruptive and destructive riots nationwide – typically based on emotional and inflammatory propaganda, often untrue – leading to economic destruction, making everyone worse off.
 After a week of protests that became riots, causing over $1 million in damage to mostly local businesses, so many workers lost work hours that the Portland City Council issued a plea to landlords to go easy on tenants who are late with their rent payments. The riots also shut down the public transportation system for much of the week’s evening commute causing further disruption. The riots were organized using social media propaganda.