30 Jun Should Your Brand Participate in the Facebook Boycott?
Over the last few days, some large, reputable brands have announced that they plan to withhold all social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram throughout the month of July (some as long as the remainder of 2020). This situation is evolving quickly and as we post this (June 30, 2020), the boycott currently includes media giants such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Verizon to name a few, but over 200 brands have taken a stance to #StopHateForProfit.
Unlike the Black Lives Matter movement, which was a groundswell that ultimately reached big brands, the #StopHateForProfit effort is counting on large advertisers to withhold dollars to force Facebook to take notice. The goal is to compel Facebook and Instagram (and to a lesser extent other platforms) to do a better job moderating the content on their platforms and stop hate speech while lessening the impact algorithms have on our deepening political divide.
Although the protest has not officially begun, Unilever’s announcement to join the protest last week impacted Facebook’s stock price enough to cause Zuckerberg to lose $7.2 billion in personal net worth.
Additionally, there are some smaller brands, independent artists, and nonprofits who have recently decided to get involved to show support for the movement. This said, the actual financial pressure these smaller brands are having on Facebook is still minimal, and the organizers of the movement are still focused on convincing larger, global brands to become involved.
As tomorrow marks the first official day of the Facebook boycott, your brand may also be contemplating if you should participate in the protest.
We’ve advised our clients that, depending on your current level of ad spend allocated toward these platforms, joining the boycott may not be enough to get noticed by Facebook in a meaningful way. Depending on how badly you were impacted by COVID and the economic slowdown, joining the protest may hurt your brand more than it helps the larger cause.
Of course, this is a highly personalized decision for each brand to make based on a wide array of factors.
This said we’d certainly recommend not increasing spend on these channels during July. Some experts have cautioned that if many smaller advertisers increase spend, this could cancel out the efforts of the large advertisers.
To date, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reversed his original stance on the protest Friday afternoon, saying the company would “start labeling posts it deems newsworthy but that also violate its policies.” Additionally, Facebook also announced new changes, including that it would allow more independent oversight of how offensive content spreads, undergoing an external audit of content moderation systems. One of the CEO’s involved in the Stop Hate for Profit boycott noted that this response didn’t meet enough of the group’s 10 demands.
We’ll be keeping an eye on these events as they continue to unfold throughout the month. However, if you have questions about how this could impact your business or how you should plan to adjust your social media marketing strategy, contact us using the form below.