Social Media offers a massive platform, not only to communicate, upload, and view pictures, but also to market your services and products and sell them. Social media and Digital Marketing platforms are booming for at least the last five years for businesses and influencers to market the products, thus creating awareness for their brand and making money.
As much as goodwill, these platforms can create for a brand, and it can also damage the brand’s image. Just a few days back, Facebook has been facing a collective boycott from several companies to suspend the ads. Not small-scale companies, but big ones, namely, Microsoft, Starbucks, coca-cola, Hershey, Honda, Sony, Verizon, and others.
The health snack brand KIND also followed suit. Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of KIND, wrote on LinkedIn that it would get forced to suspend all its investments in Facebook if they don’t take adequate measures to mitigate resentments, racial, defamation, and false information by the end of 2020.
The CEO of coca-cola, James Quincey, said that there is no requirement of any racial content on the Digital Platforms, and the world. Quincey insisted on “greater accountability and transparency” from social media companies.
Meanwhile, Starbucks added that they would anyways continue organic posting after jointly discussing with internal teams, media partners, and civil rights organizations to ban hate speech, but not with paid promotions.
The #StopHateProfit campaign aims to pressurize social media platforms to transform the way it handles hate speech and false information. These companies have vowed to pause the advertisements on social media platforms for a minimum of one month. Big firms like Starbucks, Lego, coca-cola, Unilever, have gone further beyond and removed their ads from almost all the platforms, not just Facebook.
The campaign is undoubtedly risky for Facebook’s goodwill. On Friday, it stated that it would tag the unfavorable detrimental content on its platform and ban all the ads that display racism or a threat to any group or race.
Initiation of Boycott:
A joint partnership of human-right organizations including Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Sleeping Giants, The NAACP, initiated a campaign on June 17. They claimed that Facebook encouraged the Hate group to flourish on its platform, using its recommendation tools. An estimated 42% of active users get bullied on the platform.
They have asked for quite a lot. We will review a few ones here.
They demand to recruit a C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to analyze the products and policies on bias, and resentments. The ask for a commitment to fill that role in their firm.
They demand an audit on hate and false information from someone who has no financial ties to Facebook, to avoid conflict of interest. They insist on finishing the inspection by the end of the year, thus bringing it under public knowledge.
They ask for a commitment to make refunds on the ads that have displayed harsh, racial, and false information content. They urge for an audit to get carried out regularly to avoid the awful content postings that Facebook approves.
They demand on taking down the hater groups that are provoking extremist content on Facebook. The members are supporters of groups like QAnon, Pizzagate, and Three Percenters; linked with violent and daunting activities.
They insist on changing their norms, thus labeling the inauthentic content, and drives hate on the platform.
Carolyn Everson, Facebook executive, said that Facebook is working on expelling the hateful content from its platform. Together with civil right organizations and marketers, they are focusing on being a force for good. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, earlier said that they are placing regulations to limit the hateful content in ads, and forbidding the ads that stimulate racial content.
Companies Might Seek to Deduct their Advertisement Budget:
Many companies prepare a quarterly budget on advertisements, and while you can imagine, the pandemic has engendered such an upheaval that the effects have been unpleasant for these companies. A lot of these companies were seeking to cut their advertisement costs. Hence, ceasing to spend funds on social media marketing will make for savings. Also, it can be that companies genuinely feel that they should come forward and support the campaign.
Effect’s on Facebook’s Revenue:
It is startling to know that 90 advertisers have removed advertisements from Facebook. This figure makes around 98% of its $70 billion annual revenues from ads. Questions are arising on how much this campaign will affect the Facebook business.
Facebook’s market value saw an astonishing decline of more than 8%, or an estimated USD 50 billion.
Twitter also observed a more than 7% decline on Friday.
On Friday, Twitter’s executive, Sarah Personetter, announced that the company’s mission is to ensure that users make genuine human connections, express themselves independently and safely, and seek and receive bonafide and credible information.
Companies Joined Facebook ad Boycott campaign:
Starting from July 1st, 240 companies have signed to boycott spending on Facebook ads, and joined the #StopHaterProfit campaign. Below are just a few company names for your reference.
Levi Strauss & Co., Honda, KIND, JanSport, Dashlane, Eddie Bauer, Ben & Jerry’s, Mozilla, SAP, The North Face, Upwork, Starbucks, Microsoft, Patagonia, and others.
The campaign has reached a global reach, while many companies are moving forward with pausing to spend. This included a beverage company Diageo. The company tweets that they promote diversity through their marketing campaign. Starting from July 1st, they will halt all inorganic promotion on all the social media platforms worldwide. They will not accept any unfavorable content.
Social media has and will also have a big stand when it comes to reaching out at a global platform. This is a temporary phase where Facebook and other social media platforms are making some losses and will, for the next few months, consider the impact of this campaign. Most importantly, other companies and influenced by those who have already signed the campaign, thus encourage them to follow suit. This will also lead to indirect branding of such a brand since they will be supporting this ban for a good cause. However, for sure, a few more months will go, and everything will go back to normal. Let’s not forget that these companies know the power social media platform has to promote their brand.