Facebook tightens policies amid growing advertiser boycott

Facebook ad boycott campaign to go global

Starbucks, Diageo Suspend All Social Ads As Boycott's Influence Spirals 06/29/2020

While the end effect remains the same in the eyes of Facebook accountants, shareholders and investors, Microsoft CMO Chis Capossela clarifies that the company is not interested in co-opting the Stop Hate for Profit boycott as a reason to avoid Facebook's advertising platform. "We will continue to discuss with media partners how they will deal with unacceptable content", the spokesperson added. The campaign was recently launched by six organisations in the USA, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and plans to call on organisations in Europe to follow suit, Reuters reported.

The U.S. coffee chain said it would pause advertising on all social media platforms while it continues discussions internally, with media partners and civil rights organizations.

"As a brewer, we talk a lot about the Canadian values that define us: boldness, independence, strength of character, but also openness, inclusivity and warmth", Trevor Grant, Moosehead's vice president of marketing and sales, said in a statement.

The boycott "may lead to a softening of Facebook revenues a bit, but it will bounce back", he said.

Editor's note: Facebook, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Unilever are among NPR's financial supporters.

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. Currently, the 10 demands focus on accountability, decency, and support.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started by several US civil rights groups after the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody triggered widespread protests against racial discrimination in the United States.

"The investments we have made in artificial intelligence mean that we find almost 90 per cent of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent European report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube", the company said in an email.

Civil rights groups - including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and Color of Change - launched a campaign called #StopHateForProfit and urged brands to halt Facebook advertising during July, saying the social network profits off bigotry, racism and violence.

Zuckerberg's intervention on Friday (26 June) was unable to prevent three more major global brands from joining an advertising boycott of the social media titan over the weekend: Diageo, Starbucks and Levi's.

The bleach maker said it will stop advertising spending with Facebook through December.

Zuckerberg has responded to the Facebook criticism by announcing that the company will add a link to all voting-related posts suggesting users investigate its new voter information hub. This is in an effort on Facebook's part to prohibit divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord.

Facebook says it will "soon" start labelling the content it leaves up that it deems "newsworthy", even though it may violate the platform's policies, "if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm".

In a rare move last week, Zuckerberg attended a client council meeting, flanked by chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson, to explain the company's position over hate speech and political content moderation, seeking to assure ad companies including Omnicom and Dentsu Aegis Network.

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