Zuckerberg dismissive of advertising boycott

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Nasdaq-100

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder, chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder of Facebook has dismissed an advertising boycott.

“My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough” Mark Zuckerberg said.

“We’re not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue.

“Usually I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you’re capitulating.”

The #StopHateforProfit campaign launched 17 June by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and other advocacy groups wants to force the social media companies Facebook and Twitter to do more to curtail racist and violent content on their sites.

More than 500 companies and organisations have supported the #StopHateforProfit campaign. Bluechip global brands, including Hershey, Honda, Verizon, Lego, Unilever, Coca-Cola Starbucks, Aviva and Intercontinental Hotels have stopped advertising. Microsoft, Target and Sony have suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

“If Facebook doesn’t take visible, measurable and assertive efforts to effectively prevent the promotion of hate, division, defamation and misinformation by this year’s end — we will feel compelled to evaluate indefinitely suspending our investments in Facebook until they do so,” Daniel Lubetzky, founder and executive chairman of health snack brand KIND, wrote on LinkedIn.

Mark Zuckerberg’s comments were made in a private meeting with Facebook staff last Friday and leaked to Information. Facebook confirmed the comments were reportedly accurately and also announced that Mark Zuckerberg is to meet the organisers of the boycott, Stop Hate for Profit.

The top companies involved spent more than US$548 million on Facebook advertising in the US last year, according to a boycott list maintained by the activist group Sleeping Giants and data from ad analytics company Pathmatics. The figures exclude spending on Facebook’s photo-sharing arm Instagram and other services.

A Facebook spokesman added: “We take these matters very seriously and respect the feedback from our partners. We’re making real progress keeping hate speech off our platform, and we don’t benefit from this kind of content.

“But as we’ve said, we make policy changes based on principles, not revenue pressures.”

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