Diageo to stop advertising on social media

Marco Green
June 30, 2020

Advertiser boycotts in July could cost Facebook more than $250 million in the third quarter if 25% of its top 100 buyers pause spending, and as much as $500 million if 50% of the top advertisers stop, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral.Zuckerberg announced changes Friday created to appease critics, but the Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups calling for the boycott, called the amendments "small".

Starbucks is the latest big company to rethink advertising on Facebook, announcing Sunday it will stop paying for content across all social media platforms while consulting with civil rights groups and media partners. The campaign also alleged that Facebook had "turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression" on its platform, adding that while Facebook could protect and support Black users as well as call out Holocaust denial as hate, it is "actively choosing not to do so".

Facebook Inc. fielded criticism from a growing number of consumer companies over harmful content on its sites, with Starbucks Corp. and Diageo Plc pulling back on ad spending and General Motors Co. planning to review its social media marketing strategy.

"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech", the Seattle-based corporation, which operates thousands of restaurants around the world, said in a brief statement.

Calls for an advertising boycott of Facebook next month have come from the NAACP, the big civil rights group that defends African Americans' interests, and the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism.

Additionally, Starbucks confirmed to TIME that it would not be signing up for the #StopHateForProfit campaign and pledged its support to have conversations internally and with social media platforms about what parameters should look like regarding hate speech.

Mr Zuckerberg has been more reticent to put limits on online discourse, notably controversial posts by President Donald Trump, saying that he does not want Facebook to be an arbiter of what is true.

Facebook promised to apply their hate policy to ads - but not do anything about hate more broadly in groups and posts where it is a far more significant and systemic issue. In response, the campaign criticised Zuckerberg's response and offered ten steps that would "not be enough to address all of Facebook's problems, but they would be a start." .

The company said it would continue using social media to communicate with its clients and employees.

The U.S. Facebook estimates for some of the other large advertisers that have implemented suspensions include $42.4 million for Unilever, $22.9 million for Verizon, and $22.1 million for Coca-Cola. Facebook shares have fallen since Coca Cola announced its advertising suspension, as Business Insider previously reported. That only accounts for about 10% of its overall estimated $250 million it spends on Facebook advertising annually, according to Richard Greenfield of LightShed Partners, a media and tech research firm.

Mark Zuckerberg had $US7 billion wiped off his fortune as advertisers boycott Facebook. He's going to be just fine.

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Other reports by Click Lancashire

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