More companies are joining big brands including Unilever, Honda and Verizon in halting advertising on Facebook despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining several steps the social network will take to combat hate speech.
On Friday night, The Hershey Company confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY it will join a boycott involving several companies that will halt advertising for July. Hershey also said it will cut spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year.
“We do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform,” said The Hershey Company in a statement. “Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change.”
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola said it plans to pause advertising on all social media platforms for at least 30 days while it revisits its advertising policies. “We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners,” reads a statement from James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.
The latest advertising stoppages follow remarks Friday by Zuckerberg, who detailed multiple steps the company will take ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Among the planned steps: pushing back against voter suppression, boosting standards for hateful content in ads, and labeling content deemed newsworthy.
“I’m optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting,” wrote Zuckerberg. “I’m committed to making sure Facebook is a force for good on this journey.”
Multiple companies have said they will halt advertising on the platform, citing Facebook’s struggles to contain hate speech on its platform. Verizon’s decision is part of a larger #StopHateForProfit campaign, which includes the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.
The ad boycott on Facebook focuses on advertising for the month of July, and features brands including Verizon, Eddie Bauer and Ben & Jerry’s.
“If we’re limited to 10 to 15 big name advertisers who join the boycott, I think it’s more symbolic and it would have limited impact on Facebook’s business.” said Baird analyst Colin Sebastian. “The fear is that this snowballs into something much larger.”Get the Talking Tech newsletter in your inbox.
Earlier this week, during a speech at Cannes Lion Live, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for P&G, said the company would conduct a “comprehensive review” of where it is advertising. “Where standards of responsibility and civility are not met, we will stop our spending, just like we’ve done before,” he said.
Zuckerberg said any posts that would typically violate their policies but remain on the platform will include a label noting the content they are sharing may violate their policies.
The co-founder and CEO also said they will not provide any exemptions to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.
“Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down,” he said. “Similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today.”