Facebook Inc. is working to persuade its top advertisers not to pause spending on the social network, as it tries to keep a boycott from a handful of marketers from turning into a widespread revolt.

Facebook executives in emails and calls with advertisers and ad agencies over the past week have conveyed that they are taking seriously the concerns of civil-rights groups about the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on its platform. But they are also maintaining that business interests won’t dictate their policies,…

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