Facebook stock under pressure as advertiser boycott spreads

Facebook Ad Boycott Enters New Phase Impact Remains Unclear

Both companies announced global pauses on all social media platforms for indeterminate periods of time, and both indicated that they will continue to "discuss" how to address hate speech with their "media partners". According to Bloomberg, the social media platform's shares fell 8.3 percent on Friday, marking the biggest drop in the past three months, due to one of the world's largest advertisers, Unilever, pulling its advertising from Facebook.

Facebook closed at US$216.08 last Friday.

Advertiser boycotts in July could cost Facebook more than $250 million in the third quarter if 25% of its top 100 buyers pause spending, and as much as $500 million if 50% of the top advertisers stop, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral.Zuckerberg announced changes Friday created to appease critics, but the Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups calling for the boycott, called the amendments "small".

"We've entered a totally new era of digital activism", said Greg Sterling, a digital marketing analyst and contributing editor at Search Engine Land. The coffee chain does not consider the video platform a social media platform per se and they said they're already working with site to ensure appropriate guidelines. "Indeed, all social media will be compelled to re-examine and adjust or adopt new policies that don't permit hate and racism to proliferate".

According to the statement, the company will pause all advertising on social media while continuing to have discussions "internally, with our media partners, and with civil rights organisations" about ending the spread of hate speech.

Michelle Amazeen, a Boston University professor of communication, said the latest action "suggests that social media need to take this issue seriously or it's going to affect their bottom line".

Shares were down less than 1% Monday morning in NY, adding to an 8.3% drop on Friday.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook also would add tags to posts that are "newsworthy" but violate platform rules - following the lead of Twitter, which has used such labels on tweets from Trump.

Facebook has said it has invested heavily in efforts to stem racism in the wake of civil unrest triggered by the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Larry Chiagouris, a Pace University marketing professor, said most brand boycotts in recent years have fizzled out as initial enthusiasm fades.

People walk past Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The statement also listed ideas concerning accountability, decency, and support which the organisations hope Facebook will agree and implement over the next month.

Annually, Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales and about a quarter of it comes from big companies such as Unilever with the vast majority of its revenue derived from small businesses. The social-media giant makes almost all of its revenue from advertising. They include calls to "stop recommending or otherwise amplifying groups or content from groups associated with hate, misinformation or conspiracies to users" and to "find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation and climate denialism".



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