Facebook and the Advertiser Backlash

The Washinton Post has published an explosive story about the tech giant this week, reporting that Facebook started altering its policies in 2015 to accommodate the Trump campaign for the Presidency. Numerous former Facebook employees supplied the information, which is behind this paywall.

Facebook also saw 7% shaved off its share price on Friday following the announcement by Coca Cola that it is pausing all its social media advertising. This move also wiped $7 billion off Mark Zuckerberg’s personal net worth!

The advertisers’ revolt

At the same time, Starbucks also said it would pause its advertising on social media platforms, according to CNBC, “and promises to have discussions internally and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech.”

Others joining this move include Unilever, which is halting advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. through to 31st December, and Diageo said it will be pausing paid advertising globally on “major social media platforms” beginning in July.

Facebook and Hate Speech

According to CNBC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will change its policies to prohibit hate speech in its advertisements. Under its new policies, Facebook will ban ads that claim people from a specific race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety or health of anyone else.

Zuckerberg said: “I am committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues,” Zuckerberg said. “But I also stand against hate or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that content too, no matter where it comes from.”

Zuckerberg’s comments come after nearly 100 brands announced that they would pull their advertising from Facebook for the month of July or longer as part a movement called #StopHateForProfit. The movement is protesting “Facebook’s repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.”

Led by Twitter

At first Zuckerberg said he wouldn’t follow Twitter’s decision to label some of Trump’s tweets as false information. However, it now seems he has bowed to heavy criticism from his own employees for refusing to censor or moderate a post from President Trump in late May. Facebook will now label content that it decides to leave up because it is deemed newsworthy and valuable to the public interest, even if it otherwise violates the company’s policies, which is exactly what Twitter does.

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