Facebook Loses $56bn as More Companies Pause Ads on the Company’s Platforms
The price of Facebook stock plunged by 8.3 percent on Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, joined almost 100 other companies boycotting Facebook ads for failing to stop hate speech on its platform.
Mark Zuckerberg had left Trump’s gun comments targeted at African Americans protesting the killing of George Floyd in May, saying the comment does not violate Facebook policy despite Twitter and other platforms removing it.
A move staff of the social media giant vehemently denounced, collectively saying it was wrong to left the comments.
While Zuckerberg had insisted his decision to leave those comments on Facebook was because he felt people the comments were directed at needed to see it and also the platform encourages freedom of speech.
Protesters and Facebook advertisers had accused the social media giant of profiting from the speech given that Twitter and others have deleted it. Leaving only the company to profit from the surged in traffic that trailed the comments.
A concerned group started the #StopHateForProfit movement that soon gained momentum and attracted both big and small and medium brands. Leading to almost 100 brands boycotting Facebook ads in spite of Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that the company has made adjustments to its policy.
Under the new policy, Zuckerberg said the company will remove ads claiming people from certain race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety or health of anyone else.
He 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.”
On Friday Unilever Plc, however, said it will stop all advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States for the rest of the year, citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the US”.
Coca-cola also announced it would pause all paid adverts on social media for 30 days after companies like Verizon, Hershey Co. etc had stopped.
James Quincey, the chairman and CEO, Coca-cola, said “There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media.”
He demanded “greater accountability and transparency” from social media firms.
The decision led to $7.2 billion plunged in Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth to $82.3 billion while Facebook lost $56 billion from its market capitalisation.