Corporate Advertisers Use Boycotts to Pressure Facebook on Its Speech Policies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
AP featured image
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Facebook has become embroiled in a bitter feud with some of its corporate advertisers amid protests and the current focus on race relations in America. As celebrities engage in meaningless virtue signaling gestures and voice actors are re-evaluating their career choices, the social media giant is once again under scrutiny for failing to acquiesce to the church of wokeism.


Several high-profile corporations are pandering to the woke crowd by pulling their marketing dollars from Facebook. Companies like Coca-Cola, Honda, and Unilever are participating in the boycott in the hopes that they can compel the social media icon to alter their policies regarding supposed “hate speech” and misinformation. The corporations stated that the boycott would continue for the rest of the year.

Proponents of the boycotts argue that Facebook’s policies regarding speech are not strict enough. They claim that the company has been too lenient when it comes to divisive and hateful rhetoric. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be placing labels on posts that violate its policies.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to satisfy the woke crowd, mainly because the woke crowd never actually wants to be satisfied. Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, tweeted:

“What we’ve seen in today’s address from Mark Zuckerberg is a failure to wrestle with the harms [Facebook] has caused on our democracy & civil rights. If this is the response he’s giving to major advertisers withdrawing millions of dollars from the company, we can’t trust his leadership.”

In a statement released to USA Today, The Hershey Company confirmed that it would also halt its advertising with Facebook for the month of July. “We do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform,” the statement read. “Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change.”


However, although these public boycotts are occurring, it is unlikely that they will hurt Facebook enough to force its leadership to make any further changes. In total, these companies are depriving Facebook of a tiny percentage of its annual $70 billion in advertising revenue.

Mark Mahaney, who monitors internet companies like Facebook for RBC Capital Markets, told Politico, “I haven’t seen a single example of an advertiser boycott having a material impact on the internet.” He continued, “My gut sense is that Facebook’s policy of having as little content moderation as possible, that policy isn’t controversial enough to cause a widespread advertiser boycott.”

Matt Rivitz, founder of pro-censorship group Sleeping Giants, helped to launch the Stop Hate for Profit boycott, told Politico that those withholding advertising dollars might also be negatively impacted by the campaign. “There’s a dearth of options for advertising now,” he explained. “There’s just a few monopolies and it’s really hard to get around them.”

Sleeping Giants came to prominence when a group of its volunteers made an ill-fated attempt to shut down Breitbart News by targeting its advertisers on social media. It appears that the group’s new effort to stifle speech online might also fail.

However, Facebook already claims that it removes almost 90% of hate speech before it is flagged by its users. Additionally, the social media platform has also come under fire for unfairly discriminating against conservative content. Project Veritas recently released a video report showing employees of the company admit to deleting conservative content.


Facebook also spoke out against the boycott, indicating that they would not allow themselves to be bullied into submission. “We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” said Carolyn Everson, vice president of the company’s Global Business Group. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

In a statement, Everson affirmed that “we deeply respect any brand’s decision” and will continue to crack down on hate speech and election misinformation.

Facebook has received criticism from both the left and the right for their practices regarding political content. As the Project Veritas video revealed, the company’s workforce is made up primarily of progressives, and it is evident that at least some are using their positions to suppress right-leaning voices. However, the company has not gone on an all-out crusade to purge conservative posts from its platform, which has earned them much consternation from the left.

The reality is that progressives who are attacking the company’s revenue stream are not concerned with “hate speech.” Indeed, the far left is infamous for labeling any arguments with which they disagree as hate speech. It is a tactic that they use as a way of silencing opposing views.

Sure, they might target content from actual hate groups, but it would be foolish to assume that they intend to stop there. Their ultimate objective is to achieve online supremacy for their progressive ideology. Supposed hate speech is only their starting point. After that, they will move on to anyone who voices views that contradict the precepts of wokeism.



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