This Saturday (1 December), large numbers of people will switch off Facebook for a day in protest at the company’s tax avoidance. Anti-poverty campaigners hope their message will go viral, and alert users of the popular site to the company’s dodging of corporation tax.
Church Action on Poverty initiated the campaign after it was revealed that the company paid just £196,000 in corporation tax on estimated UK sales of £175 million in 2011.
The Christian campaign group are asking supporters to share images with friends to advertise the action. Participants are also encouraged to leave a message for their friends, telling them why they are switching off for the day.
“Despite media coverage, many of Facebook’s 43 million users will be unaware of the company’s tax dodging," explained Niall Cooper, National Co-ordinator of Church Action on Poverty.
He added, "Right now, every pound of tax dodged is a pound less to spend on essential public services. The impact is increasingly being felt by individuals, families and communities across the country.”
The online protest is part of a wider push for governmental action on tax dodging, through more transparency and better legal and financial support for HMRC to close the £35 billion 'tax gap'.
Corporate tax avoidance has become an increasingly major concern since UK Uncut began nonviolent direct action over the issue in 2010. Campaigns against tax dodging are a priority for a number of Christian organisations, including Church Action on Poverty, Christian Aid and Christianity Uncut.
Tax is one of four strands in Church Action on Poverty's campaign to "Close the Gap" between rich and poor, alongside initiatives for Fair Pay, Fair Prices and a Fair Say for those cut out of decision-making.