Ad boycotts against Facebook over hate speech arrive in Latin America

Stop Hate for Profit campaign criticizes Facebook's handling of hate speech and its moderation failures

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a press conference at the summit G8/G20 about new technologies - Deauville, France. Photo: Shutterstock
  • In Brazil, Coca-Cola will adopt, starting today, the corporate decision of boycotting the platform;
  • The movement has grown out of Facebook’s refusal to take action against the spread of disinformation and misinformation.

A global boycott is threatening Facebook‘s revenues with the recent decision of large multinationals, with billions of dollars to be spent on advertising and marketing, to withdraw their ads from social networks – including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. What at first started to affect only the U.S. has already arrived in Latin America, with multinationals branches adopting the same decision.

In Brazil, Coca-Cola will cut back advertising on the platforms, starting this Monday, June 29, following the boycot, according to Valor Econômico.

The campaign, led by American anti-prejudice NGOs NAACP, which was born out of the Black movement, and the ADL (Anti Defamation League), which originally fought anti-Semitism, initially attracted sports fashion brands that have a tradition of embracing social causes: North Face and Patagonia.

But now, the campaign is going global. In Latin America, the perception that there is a problem in those social networks regarding misinformation also occurs in Brazil: 81% of those interviewed by the last Datafolha survey say that spreading fake news against politicians and ministers of the Supreme Court poses a threat to democracy, reports G1.

READ ALSO: Coursera grew six times faster helped by its swift response initiatives to Covid-19

The movement has grown out of Facebook’s refusal to face misinformation and challenges to democracy published by American President Donald Trump is gaining support everywhere. Axios reports that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have joined the campaign and are in talks to CEOs.

Other major brands are expected to join in the coming days. However, the top 100 advertisers in the world account for only 6% of Facebook’s advertising revenue. The greatest impact is on Facebook’s image that isolates the network as a disseminator of hate and polarization, says Axios.

Last week, the movement had support from Unilever, the second largest advertiser in the world, and also from American telecom Verizon, the biggest Facebook’s advertiser to join the campaign, according to The Verge.

Over the weekend, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Honda and PepsiCo joined the movement pledging to pause all social media ads starting July 1st. They all are committed to suspend advertising on Facebook and Instagram for 30 days or until the end of the year. Companies call for more action against racism, hate speech and disinformation. Some of these enterprises also included Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube on boycotting.

READ ALSO: AliExpress’ strategy to take e-commerce live streaming phenomenon to the world

The suspension caused Mark Zuckerberg to lose nearly $7.2 billion. He announced he will start to label posts with political speech that violate rules and will take other measures to avoid the repression against voters and protect minorities against abuse, reports Folha de S.Paulo. However, it wasn’t enough for the organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. They want to extend the boycott with help from companies in Europe, says Folha de S.Paulo.

The current suspension may already affect Facebook’s second-quarter balance sheet, according to Bloomberg. Facebook had already been suffering from falling ad revenue due to the pandemic. According to Financial Times, more than 150 brands and agencies have now joined the boycott, many of which are smaller. However, the inclusion of companies such as Verizon and Unilever pose more of a threat to Facebook since they spent $850,000 and $504,000 in ads on Facebook in the US in the first three weeks of June, respectively.

READ ALSO: From George Floyd to João Pedro: Brazilian artists join #BlackOutTuesday

On the other hand, according to Explica, SMEs could save Facebook during big companies boycott. The media outlet says that Facebook had registered in the previous six months a global increase of 25% in the base of its advertisers, a figure mainly driven by small and medium-sized companies, mainly based in Latin America.

Get the best insights about Latin America market in your inbox