A decision by Facebook to no longer censor a tweet made by US President Donald Trump that many argued instigated hate speech and violence against Black Lives Matter protestors, is turning out to be a financial blunder for the social media giant. Many companies have since then announced that for the month of July (and possibly longer), they will not be participating in any form of social media advertising on Facebook. The changes come amid an ongoing boycott led by Colour of Change, calling for advertisers to halt spending on Facebook in response to the company’s perceived inability to moderate hate speech
With social media at the centre of many people’s communication, especially given the value lockdown and social distancing regulations in place around the world, the blow could certainly impact on Facebook’s revenue quite severely. So far many of the world biggest advertising companies, including Unilever, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Hershey’s and several other big US firms have taken a firm stance on this issue.
The company has yet to officially respond to the ban, though in a recently held town hall, Facebook did announce new restrictions on hateful content in adverts, explicitly banning ads that encourage racial divisions. Specifically, the new policy will “prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others.”
Given that this year is an election year in the USA and that there is bound to be a lot of political advertising that are going to flare up these topics, I do think it will be interesting to see how Facebook actually manages these new regulations and whether it might actually make a difference in the current campaign to demonetise their advertising.
Last Updated: June 29, 2020