Mark Zuckerberg becomes $7 billion poorer as firms boycott Facebook ads

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"We hope this collective action helps catalyze positive change and accountability, and we will evaluate our advertising approach beyond July as we await Facebook's response", the company stated.

Now is not a great time to be involved in advertising for social media companies as, spurring on by events in the States, large-scale advertisers have pulled their advertising budgets from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other platforms.

Companies from Verizon Communications to Hershey have also stopped social media ads after critics said that Facebook has failed to sufficiently police hate speech and disinformation on the platform.

During the Q&A with employees, Mr Zuckerberg went a step further. The clothier has a history of inserting itself into the political arena.

Diageo, along with Coca-Cola last week, also said it would pause paid advertising on "major social media platforms", meaning even smaller players such as Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok are being affected.

Zuckerberg said Facebook believes "there is a public interest in allowing a wider range of free expression in people's posts than in paid ads".

The marketer's USA division on June 26 became the first automaker to publicly join the movement, stating that during July it would "withhold its advertising on Facebook and Instagram, choosing to stand with people united against hate and racism".

Diageo is estimated to have spent $22.9 million on Facebook in the USA a year ago. The company had spent $42.3 million on Facebook (not counting Instagram) ads in 2019 and $2.1 million each month in April and May, according to Pathmatics. "Let's send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence", the campaign website said. Unilever, on the other hand, has gone all in on the boycott, removing all of its advertising spend from social media until the end of the year.

Analysts also note that Facebook Inc.

The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter and Snap in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from US President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral.

The brand joined the boycott on June 26, targeting Facebook and Instagram.

Unilever's pledge applies immediate pressure on other big companies and presents a risk to Facebook's dominant business. "Facebook mishandles users' data, lacks privacy in its apps, and has taken an outrageous stand avoiding the necessary steps to protect the public from violent and unsafe rhetoric", writes Agaoua.

Facebook director Carolyn Everson told Yle that the company respects brands' decisions and that it will continue to work to combat hate speech. 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.

According to Reuters, Stop Hate for Profit is demanding measures including a special moderation process, a halt in ad revenue generation from racist or hateful content, and more transparency from the company on the number of hate speech incidents it deals with.

The Unilever-owned ice cream brand announced it would pause its Facebook ads ahead of Unilever joining the cause.



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