Marija Mihajlova - 07/02/2020 - Social Media Marketing - 0 Comments

Facebook Ad Boycott: What Do You Need to Know?

Recently a lot of big companies hit pause on Facebook Advertising in hopes that the tech giant will make some changes on the platform regarding misinformation and harmful content.

These companies are part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign which focuses on stopping the spread of hate speech.

Read the rest of the blog post to find out more about the movement, which companies joined the ad boycott, and what’s Facebook’s response.

What is the Stop Hate for Profit Movement?

Facebook was handling posts badly and now has a lot of work to do if it wants to reacquire the trust of its users and advertisers back.

The platform has been criticized for its soft rules and the absence of transparency on what is allowed and what isn’t allowed to be posted.

But, recent activities involving the stimulus to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America, couldn’t be tolerated. So, numerous groups took it upon themselves to take urgent action and hit Facebook where it hurts the most, their income from ads.

This movement started on June 17th when non-profit organizations came together and asked big corporations and businesses to pause their ads spending on Facebook and Instagram.

Their main goal?
To urge these platforms to approach and solve problems regarding their content moderation practices.

After a while, the movement spread out, with many big companies joining and supporting the cause. Some companies even suspended their campaigns on other social media channels beyond Instagram and Facebook. As the list grows, the global campaign will continue to invite more companies to join.

What Are the Demands That Facebook Needs to Meet?

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign offers 10 steps for Facebook so that they can better address the hate speech on their social media platforms.

Some of the steps include:

  • Hiring an executive with a civil rights background who will evaluate the tech giant’s rules for discrimination, bias, and hate.
  • Participating in a regular audit by an independent third-party about identity-based misinformation and hate.
  • Notifying businesses if their ads are shown next to content that violated rules so that they can get a refund.
  • Removing Facebook groups that spread false information, hate speech, and discrimination.
  • Creating a way to automatically flag hateful content in private groups.
  • Stop excusing politicians from fact-checking.

Facebook’s Annual Ad Revenues

During 2019, Facebook stated that it has over 1.5 billion daily active users and more than 2.5 billion monthly active users. That’s a large number of people who are looking at Facebook ads every day.

Half of Facebook’s ad income comes from the USA and Canada. Annually, 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made from their ads revenue.

That’s why the #StopHateforProfit movement is reaching out to companies and asking them to stand with them. Their mission is to send a powerful message to Facebook.

“Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and violence.”

The expansion of the campaign means taking a bigger slice off of Facebook’s annual advertising revenue. This certainly can make a great financial hit.

Unilever, for example, on Friday committed to pausing its ads for the rest of the year. That’s a good number, considering that they spend 250 million dollars on Facebook ads annually.

Companies That Joined the Ad Boycott

Some of the companies that have joined the boycott include major spending corporations like Coca Cola, Verizon Communications, and Honda.

Since the launch of the campaign, more than 200 companies have joined the movement. These companies won’t be spending a dime on Facebook and Instagram ads during the month of July, some even until the end of the year.

Annual Ads Spending for some companies that joined the boycott

Facebook’s Response

Facebook didn’t have any official responses, until the 1st of July, which is the official date of the start of the ad boycott.

Nick Clegg, the VP of Global Affairs for Facebook published an open letter on July 1st with its major statement that the social media platform does not profit from hate.

“With so much content posted every day, rooting out the hate is like looking for a needle in a haystack”, Clegg stated.

You can read the full letter here.

Wrapping Things Up

Despite the ad boycott, some experts think that Facebook is not taking the so-called major financial hit. Why?
Because around 7 million other advertisers are still spending their advertising budget on Facebook and Instagram.

Even though these can be seen as much smaller companies than Coca Cola, their large number contributes to Facebook’s income.

Still, this movement has declared a heavy statement that profits will never be worth promoting hate of any kind and that Facebook needs to make changes to its platform when it comes to sensitive topics.

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