Brands have had enough with Facebook!

3 months ago

BY THE HAMMER

More than 300 advertisers have joined the global chorus in a boycott against Facebook over what it allows on its platforms says the New York Times.

In a desperate war-footing pushback, frantic Facebook officials have been falling over themselves to contain this merciless tsunami of hate, anguish and frustration from advertisers who’s trust deficit with Facebook is now as wide as the Grand Canyon but it is not looking as majestic.

Even though Facebook said it would label potentially harmful or misleading posts left up for their news value, the organisers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which accuse Facebook of not doing enough to stop hate speech and disinformation, said the “small number of small changes” would not “make a dent in the problem”.

“Facebook has a long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.”

They add, “We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meagre steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”

A group of six organizations called on advertisers to pause their spending on the social media platform during the month of July.

The groups – the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense – asked “large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety. Facebook has a long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.”

Elijah Harris, senior vice president of paid social at IPG Mediabrands, in a LinkedIn post said it was “time to hold Facebook’s leadership team accountable … Let’s use our collective strength to bring them to task.”

Carolyn Everson, VP of Facebook’s global business group, wrote, “We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Her memo reads, “I also really hope by now you know that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure. We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

… Levi Strauss & Co also said it would be pausing advertising on Facebook and accused the social media firm of not going far enough…

“I’m one of the people who feel like the trust has been broken,” Co-Chairman and Partner Jeff Goodby said in a CNBC interview, “I’m not sure what they’ll do, to tell you the truth. I’m optimistic that they’ll listen and do something about it, but experience has shown otherwise.”

“As an industry, we talk to them all the time about this. You can’t ask advertisers to invest in this thing with content that comes from everywhere without some assurances that it will be safe for us. There are no assurances. Facebook doesn’t even pay attention to its own rules of the road.”

David Jones, the founder of You & Mr. Jones and a founding member of Facebook’s client council said he doesn’t feel Facebook is ignoring the advertisers.

Levi Strauss & Co also said it would be pausing advertising on Facebook and accused the social media firm of not going far enough.

Hershey’s says it will be cutting spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year. Coca-Cola announced it will be pausing advertising on all social media platforms globally. while clarifying it was not joining the official boycott.

The boycott is led by brands and not media agencies. Brands are standing up for themselves as this is a corporate reputation matter.

In a Facebook post and town hall speech, founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined steps to counter some forms of voter suppression, set a higher standard for hateful content in ads and promised more labelling around newsworthy posts, especially by politicians that may violate Facebook policies.

He countered the trust issue, citing a study from the EU showing Facebook “acts faster and removes a greater percent of hate speech on our services than other major internet platforms, including YouTube and Twitter.”

He added that AI systems and human review teams now remove 90% of identified hate speech before anyone reports it to Facebook.

But as the boycott reaches new levels of seriousness, frantic Facebook officials huddled with media agencies to address concerns over its hate-speech moderation policies on the day marking one month of the advertisers boycott.

… as the boycott reaches new levels of seriousness, frantic Facebook officials huddled with media agencies to address concerns over its hate-speech moderation policies on the day marking one month of the advertisers boycott…

The meeting, according to one report was to “their sell to agencies and clients that they’re on top of this and there’s nothing to worry about.” Campaign magazine said, Facebook executives mostly reiterated statements that had been announced publicly on Friday, after founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg scrambled into action shortly after Unilever, the world’s second-biggest advertiser, announced it would suspend social media advertising for the remainder of the year.

In the meeting, Facebook repeated their claim that Facebook now removes 89% of hate speech with automated tools before anyone sees it, up from 23% from three years ago.

However, according to one UK digital agency executive, “Facebook hasn’t done enough to move the dial and regain that advertiser trust. I think, for a lot of advertisers, they’re just looking at November, the US presidential election, and thinking ‘I don’t want anything to do with that’.”

They have some of the best AI in the world for content analysis. But 11% is still a shit-ton of content [hate speech which is not picked up by automated tools before being reported by users and actioned].”

Campaign also reported that, “In this current climate, no CMO is going to get beaten up by a CFO and say we’re going to stop spending on Facebook and shove that money back into their bottom line instead.”

… 11% is still a shit-ton of hate speech which is not picked up by automated tools before being reported by users and actioned…

The other concern is “Facebook and Google have been very good at developing direct relationships with clients. Media agencies feel cut out of the loop.” And to think that at one time, we reported that Facebook were political watchdogs too.

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