Leading US drugstore chain Walgreens and New Zealand-based news site Stuff have decided to quit Facebook and its sister platforms amid criticism over its handling of hate speech and misinformation.
They join over 400 advertisers including some big names like Coca Cola, Starbucks, adidas and Sony Playstation who are part of ‘boycott ads on Facebook’ campaign being run by civil rights groups.
“Brands are withdrawing paid advertising from Facebook and Instagram across the UK and U.S. for the month of July. During this pause, we will examine our marketing strategy, to ensure that our advertising spend goes toward platforms with a commitment to address misinformation and hate speech,” Walgreens said in a statement on Sunday.
A leaked internal email showed the New Zealand’s largest news organisation is “ceasing all activity” on Facebook and its partner networks, reports The Spinoff.
“Effective immediately, Stuff is trialling ceasing all activity on Facebook-owned networks. This experiment applies to all Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts across our entire group,” the email read.
The #StopHateForProfit boycott has more than 400 participants and the civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League on June 17, are now calling for a global expansion of Facebook ad boycott.
American food company Chobani, drug maker Pfizer, software major SAP, Coca Cola, adidas, cleaning supply firm Clorox, Conagra (the maker of Slim Jim, Duncan Hines and Pam), fast food chain Denny’s, Ford and Starbucks, among others, have decided to pull their ads from the platform.
As hundreds of companies halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is confident the brands would soon return on the platform.
According to a report in The Information, Zuckerberg told employees he was reluctant to bow to the threats of a growing ad boycott, saying “my guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
The social networking giant said it was getting better at removing harmful content and that the platform does not in any way profit from hate speech.
Facebook’s digital advertising accounted for over 98 per cent of the company’s nearly $70 billion in revenue last year.