Big brands pull ad dollars from Facebook; to what end?
As new reports come pouring in, brands both big and small are stepping up to boycott Facebook after being left unsatisfied with founder Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to address racism, hate speech and advertiser concerns.
The debacle started when despite being ‘disgusted’ by President Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks on his platform, Zuckerberg refused to allow any kind of censorship or blocking of political hate speech by arguing that ‘Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth’. In the backdrop, platforms like Twitter took the initiative to hide the message, the strongest action to be ever taken against a Presidential post.
Silicon Valley companies like Facebook are under the scanner by the federal authorities over antitrust concerns and face the threat of regulatory action. Facebook finds itself between a rock and a hard place as brands also turn on the pressure.
Since Friday 26 June, Unilever, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Diageo, Starbucks, Honda Motors, and Hershey have joined the bandwagon of brands that are choosing to boycott Facebook, and in some cases social media entirely, until the debate on racism and hate speech online is settled. Brands are choosing to stay away from such platforms for a period of 30 days to 2 months or until these concerns are addressed.
According to e-marketer, Facebook accounts for 23% of the total digital advertising market in the U.S. The question is how long are brands going to hold out? And how many dollars is Facebook willing to lose before it revisits its policies that allow such rhetoric to thrive on its platform?