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Hate Speech: Corporate Advertisers Threaten To Boycott Facebook

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Almost a third of advertisers are considering joining a month-long boycott of Facebook as the social network struggles to convince advertisers that it is doing enough to fight hate speech on its platform.

The unprecedented corporate snub has been revealed in survey by the World Federation of Advertisers, whose big-spending members control nearly $100bn (£81bn) in spending.

The survey showed that a third of the top 58 advertisers will, or are likely to, suspend advertising, while a further 40% are also considering doing so.

On Monday, Ford and Adidas announced their intention to halt all advertising on the platform, joining corporations including Honda, Verizon, Diageo and Unilever.

Others, including Starbucks and Coca-Cola, have paused all advertising on social media but stopped short of officially announcing support for the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which is coordinating the Facebook boycott.

The boycott is also spreading outside the US. On Tuesday, Britvic, the owner of drinks brands including Fruit Shoot and Robinsons, said it was suspending all advertising on Facebook platforms next month, and called on the social media platform “to take stronger actions against harmful content and misinformation on its platform”.

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VW said it was also joining the boycott, along with Honda Europe and Ford Europe. The French state-owned utility EDF, which owns EDF Energy and is the company behind the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, has also vetoed Facebook advertising.

A Ford spokesman said: “We are pausing all US and European social media advertising for the next 30 days to re-evaluate our presence on these platforms. The existence of content that includes hate speech, violence and racial injustice on social platforms needs to be eradicated.”

A Honda Europe spokesman added that the decision was “in alignment with our company’s values, which are grounded in human respect”.

Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the World Federation of Advertisers, told the Financial Times the advertising industry was starting to request big changes from social media platforms. “In all candour,” he said, “ it feels like a turning point.”

In an internal post on Monday reported by Axios, Microsoft revealed it had suspended all US spending on Facebook platforms in May, and had since expanded the move globally.

Credit: The Guardian

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