Boycott of brands to Facebook gains support from Adidas and VW

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3D Facebook logo image. 3/25/2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Photo: Reuters

The wave of advertisers looking to boycott Facebook because of its content policies continues to grow. On Tuesday, more names were confirmed, among them are Adidas, Volkswagen, Honda, VF (manufacturer of Vans branded shoes), HP and Pfizer.

The movement already has the support of names like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Verizon – on Monday, 29, names like Ford and Microsoft also revealed that they do not intend to spend on social network services with ads. According to[a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers, a third of the world’s top 58 advertisers plan to join the boycott – in total, they invest $ 100 billion in marketing. By now, more than 240 organizations would have joined the movement.

A Volkswagen representative said the company would reevaluate the suitability of Facebook platforms as a communication channel for the company.

The boycott movement, related to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, was initiated by civil rights groups in the United States. In a letter to advertisers on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League said Facebook had repeatedly refused to remove political ads that contained “blatant lies” and was slow to respond to requests for withdrawal of conspiracy content.

In the view of analysts, the echo effect of the ads may affect the company in the near future. “Given the amount of noise after the company’s positioning, there will be a significant impact on Facebook’s business,” Bradley Gastwirth, of Wedbush Securities brokerage, said in a note to investors. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly before it goes out of control.”

For Mark Shmulik, of the consulting firm Bernstein Securities, the current environment, especially after the anti-racism demonstrations in the USA, behaves differently: “brands that do not engage in the boycott may sound complicit in these positions,” he said in a statement.

Last Friday, the company announced a series of changes in its policies and practices regarding freedom of expression, changing rules to consider a publication to be considered hate speech. Another measure was to start displaying a stamp on publications by politicians who violate the platform’s practices – however, in the public interest, the publications will be maintained, said Mark Zuckerberg. In the view of activist groups, however, the changes were insignificant.

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