An Update on the Facebook Advertiser Boycott

By: Dallas Keefe, Senior Media Manager and Lauren Ramaska, Managing Partner  |  August 27th, 2020

In an effort to keep our clients and partners up to date with recent news regarding the Facebook Boycott, Dallas, one of our Senior Media Managers, put together a complete synopsis on the moves to date.

In June, a group called Stop Hate for Profit charged Facebook with making money from algorithms and policies that fomented racism and hate and urged advertisers to withhold their advertising dollars from Facebook in an effort to address concerns about civil rights, diversity and the presence of hate groups and conspiracy on the platform. As a result, over 1,000 companies boycotted Facebook during the month of July to get Facebook’s attention and urge them to “stop valuing profits over hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and disinformation.” The boycott formally came to a close at the end of July. In that time, Facebook has made large investments and enacted several changes to their policies and procedures to address these concerns. Some large advertisers are satisfied with the moves that Facebook has made and will resume advertising while others feel there is much more to be done and will halt advertising on Facebook indefinitely until further notice.

Since the boycott, Facebook has committed to:

  • Hiring a VP of Civil Rights, which was seen as progress though met with mixed feelings, as the Stop Hate for Profit campaign wanted a C-level suite executive in this position that reported directly to Mark Zuckerberg
  • A new audit by third-party industry measurement company Media Rating Council to develop further policies and procedures
  • Eliminating hate speech content on the platform:
    • Investing in new technologies to identify and remove hate speech
    • Eliminating White supremacist groups on the platform
    • Expanded ban on ads that are inflammatory and include fear-mongering statements

What are advertisers doing now?

Now that the formal boycott has come to a close some large advertisers like The North Face,  Heineken and Puma have resumed advertising on Facebook.  “We are encouraged by the initial progress and recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight,” said a spokeswoman for North Face. While other large advertisers such as Microsoft, Unilever, Coca-Cola and CVS feel that there is still much work to be done and have made no plans to resume advertising on Facebook. Those brands have shifted dollars to competitor platforms such as Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn and Amazon as well as have invested in multi-cultural initiatives.

We believe the decision regarding Facebook advertising should be made based on what is best for each of our clients and their brand. As always, Media+ will continue to champion the goals of our clients with every tool at our disposal. As the situation develops, we’ll continue to keep you informed.

Please feel free to reach out for any further questions.

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