Facebook Boycott by Companies: Why does it matter?
Author: Zafira Emily Putri
In early July 2020, large corporations including Coca-Cola, Hershey, Unilever, Starbucks, and Honda have stopped their spending on Facebook and Instagram ads for at least a month, following the call by the advocacy group Stop Hate for Profit, a coalition of civil rights group led by The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Colors of Change, and The Anti-Defamation League. The campaign claims that Facebook often promotes posts containing violence and racism, including but not limited to Donald Trump’s recent post on Black Lives Matter protest, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Given this, the boycott is asking Facebook to hire an executive-level manager with the civil right expertise and to submit to independent audits of their policies on hate speech. The goal of the campaign #StopHateforProfit is also to ask businesses to suspend advertising with Facebook until there is ‘significant action’ that Facebook takes in dealing with their posts.
The boycott marks two important things; first, advertising contributed 99.6% of Facebook’s overall revenue in 2019. Most of the companies that are joining the boycott today are among the biggest spenders on Facebook ads, for example, Starbucks spent $95 million on the platform last year. In early July, shares of Facebook dropped 8% as a result of the advertising cutbacks. It shows that the financial loss is so apparent that it might incentivize Facebook to fulfill the demand of the campaign #StopHateforProfit rather than risking another financial loss.
Second, this marks a small victory for civil rights activism. The success in garnering support from corporations shows that corporations can start becoming a vehicle and ally for political movements. The growing list of companies joining the bandwagon of boycotting Facebook shows that they already have the awareness and willingness to push Facebook for more enforcement in the area of hate speech.
All the Companies Quitting Facebook. (2020, June 29). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/business/dealbook/facebook-boycott-ads.html
Schomer, A. (2019, July 26). Facebook’s ad revenue growth slowed in Q2 – here’s where its future growth will come from. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/facebooks-ad-revenue-continues-deceleration-2019-7?r=US