Starting with the bunch of clothing brands that cut off their social media advertising campaigns along with Unilever. Soon after, Coca-Cola did the same along with Pepsi and finally, Starbucks. The actions taken by these companies differ in their own ways, some of them are just pulling off their ads whereas some are boycotting everything as a part of a coordinated campaign to put pressure on social- media giants to clamp down on hate speech, misinformation and a civil rights protest that will lead up to 2020 US presidential elections.
The coalition of the Civil Rights Groups, including the NAACP, has a simple demand called STOP HATE for PROFIT. This campaign is also called the “Anti Defamation League and a Color of Change”. Together they launched a campaign for the month of July to pull the plug of their advertisements from a social media platform named Facebook who earns almost of its revenue through advertising and makes money off users’ posts some of them contain hate speech, racism, and misinformation. Therefore, any disruption in the advertising will directly affect its revenue.
Meanwhile, they wanted Facebook to implement some plans to make progress on this front.
- To be more accountable for the activities that are taking place.
- To create an expert team that will work on the submission of Identity-based hate and the harassment posts.
- To remove the public and private groups that focus on the white supremacy, militia, and other such activities.
- To regularly submit the third party independent audits.
Facebook does some of these actions, but not all, which clearly is not enough and created chaos. Therefore, targeted the social media giant by joining the “Facebook Boycotts” campaign.
To put pressure on Facebook to bring this plan in action, a few large marketers quickly jump on the board such as the outdoor apparel brand The North Face, owned by CF group, tweeted on June 19 “We’re out” and pulled all the social media activities from Facebook as well as Instagram till August. REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), the online marketplace for freelancers also did their collaboration in this boycott. Patagonia Inc. and outdoor outfitter Arcteryx, they also pledged an advertising pause. Only these five companies have 10 million combined followers on Facebook and 12 million on Instagram. There are many more companies that have joined this campaign. Imagine how much of a change will all of them bring!
In fact, the stock price of Facebook is already on its verge to collapse. All the boycott campaign gave a great result only after two days. The share price drop eliminated $56 billion from Facebook’s market value and Mark Zukerberg lost $7.2 personally, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It was assumed that this would get Facebook attention, it did, but not for a long time.
Still, many small and medium businesses that use Facebook advertising to reach their local customers can’t afford to put a pause to their advertising- which will still give Facebook a bulk of revenue out of it. Shutting down Facebook advertising for a month may not affect the larger brands that much but will have a greater impact on the small businesses who rely on the social media advertising and marketing. Even if it is for a good cause, will pose a serious threat to the online commerce brand who rely majorly on Facebook ads to drive the bulk of its sales.
Dennis Yu, the co-author of Facebook said that “Every year there is something like that happens and people predict a gloom, doom, and death of the Facebook.” Despite all these problems, they always make their way out and revenue skyrocketed. As roughly 8 million companies are there that uses Facebook as an Advertising platform were only large marketers who can afford to join this boycott excluding small and medium marketers. Almost 76% of the Facebook advertising revenue comes from small and medium-sized businesses.
Hence, it’s highly unlikely that all the companies will agree to join the boycott altogether because of their dependencies on Facebook. Dependence on Facebook has been a major part of recent years providing an immense power of major technology companies. According to Emarketer, Facebook alone accounts for 23.4% in U.S. Digital Market.
Whalen said that “Facebook is too important.” Which we all understood why would he say that, having an immensely large number of audiences and various platforms owned by Facebook such as Instagram and Whatsapp. Adding to it, he said, “I don’t think a month-long call to boycott is going to be successful.”
No matter how you look at it, this activity poses a bad impression for the business. It would be much better for Facebook if it had a less bad press. Well, let’s see if Facebook can come through this boycott and able to make progress with its audience satisfaction!