Earlier last week civil rights groups NAACP, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League initiated #StopHateforProfit campaign against Facebook and other social media sites for refusing to take down hate speech from politicians particularly Donald Trump. The campaign pressured major advertisers of the social network giant to halt or pause their paid ads on the platform and review their policies.
Among the brands that either paused or halted their sponsored advertisements on Facebook last week included Unilever, the Hershey Co, the North Face, Verizon. The latest brand to join the protest is beverage giant Coca-Cola who has paused all its paid ads on Facebook for the next 30 days.
“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” chief executive Coca-Cola James Quincey wrote on the company’s site.
“The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners,” he added.
The move has come as a big setback for Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. As of Saturday, Zuckerberg lost a grand total of $7.21 billion from his personal wealth owing to the boycott. Alongside, Facebook’s share price had gone down by 8% at the close of trading on Friday.
For a company like Facebook who earned $17.4 billion through advertisements in the first quarter of this year alone, the dent is a huge one. Even more so, if considered that ads are its primary source of revenue.
Trying to bounce back, Facebook ad team is assuring advertisers that “the company is serious about addressing their concerns about hate speech, and had committed to a third-party audit of its policies”.
Furthermore, Zuckerberg also stated on Friday that his social media site would label ‘newsworthy’ posts from politicians that will be against its community rules. As per Business Insider, this is a huge shift as Facebook had previously denied taking off Trump’s post threatening protesters of George Floyd’s death.
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump had said on Facebook last month and Facebook had denied taking down the post.
“We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now,” civil rights organization behind #StopHateforProfit, NAACP said on its website.