Facebook loses $60 billion in market value on pause in ad spending

Andrew Cummings
June 30, 2020

Until now, the criticism has not significantly impacted Facebook's bottom line but the new wave of advertiser boycotts could change the dynamics for the social media giant.

The unprecedented move has been joined by major brands like Unilever, Starbucks, Levis, and Coca-Cola, with almost 200 firms pausing advertising on the world's leading social network, and has wiped out billions in Facebook's market value. In a statement to Marketing, Diageo's spokesperson said it strives to promote inclusion and diversity, including through its marketing campaigns.

The Vancouver-based athleticwear companies confirmed to The Canadian Press that they are pulling their paid ads from Facebook and joining the StopHateForProfit boycott that has already been supported by Coca-Cola, Unilever, Honda America, Patagonia and more.

Calls for an advertising boycott of Facebook next month have come from the NAACP, the big civil rights group that defends African Americans' interests, and the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism.

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.

The company said it wants to raise "awareness of the harmful, racist content and misinformation that is shared on these social platforms". "We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed".

Speaking to Reuters, James Steyer, CEO of the San Francisco-based non-profit, said "the next frontier" following the successful lobbying of corporations in the U.S. is "global pressure", with major European and Asian companies including Unilever and Honda to be pressed to freeze their Facebook ads globally, not just those running in the US.

Facebook makes $70bn in annual advertising revenue while "amplifying the messages of white supremacists" and "permitting incitement to violence", according to the campaign. In response, the campaign criticised Zuckerberg's response and offered ten steps that would "not be enough to address all of Facebook's problems, but they would be a start." . "Shares of Facebook fell 8.3% on Friday after Unilever and other brands boycotted ads on the social network", a report says.

"We will allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society - but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies", he said.

"We asked companies to act against hate and disinformation being spread by Facebook in our campaign", the group writes on its website.

Facebook's website says "we remove hate speech, harassment, threats of violence and other content that has the potential to silence others or cause harm".

As Business Insider reported, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday the company would begin to label "newsworthy" posts from politicians that break its rules on hate speech or violent speech.

"We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies".

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