Advertisements for 530 brands — including Unilever, Adidas, White Castle, Starbucks and Coca-Cola — are set to disappear from Facebook starting Wednesday as the Stop Hate for Profit boycott campaign gets going.
Amid a nationwide reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality, a broad range of multinational companies have joined the effort — pushed by civil rights groups who have grown frustrated with Facebook — to pressure the social network led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg into taking more concrete steps to crack down on hate speech.
A range of top Facebook executives, including Carolyn Everson, vice president of global business solutions, Neil Potts, public policy director, and Zuckerberg himself have held meetings with or reached out to advertisers in recent days, according to Reuters and other reports.
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However, sources told Reuters that the executives offered no new details on how they would tackle hate speech. They apparently pointed back to recent press releases, frustrating advertisers on the calls who believe those plans do not go far enough.
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“It’s simply not moving,” one executive at a major ad agency said of the conversations.
Zuckerberg, along with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox have agreed to meet with the organizers of the boycott, a spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday.
Facebook also has said it would submit to an outside audit of its hate speech controls. In addition, the company is in the process of a multi-year, broader civil rights audit.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact the boycott will have on Facebook’s bottom line. Although advertising accounts for the vast amount of its annual revenue ($70 billion in 2019), the top 100 brands only brought in 6 percent of that total, with most of the ads coming from small businesses, Reuters reports.
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“Facebook does not profit from hate. Billions of people use Facebook and Instagram because they have good experiences — they don’t want to see hateful content, our advertisers don’t want to see it, and we don’t want to see it. There is no incentive for us to do anything but remove it,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, in a blog post that defended and detailed the company’s efforts to stamp out hate on its platforms.
In the same blog post, Facebook also announced a major push toward registering some 4 million U.S. voters by featuring information at the top of their News Feed this Friday.