Rising Hate Speech On Its Platform Is Costing Facebook Big Bucks
Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, on Friday said it would stop giving advertisements to Facebook for the rest of 2020.
The move by the maker of major consumer goods like Dove soap wiped out $56 billion from Facebook’s market value while its shares plunged by 8.3%. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost $7.2 billion after the news.
Unilever joins the growing list of companies who have cut down on giving advertisements to the world’s biggest social media platform over its lax handling of controlling racism and hate speech on its platform.
Several other prominent companies had earlier joined the ad-boycott campaign including the likes of Verizon, Patagonia, North Face, REI, and almost 100 other firms. The companies demand Zuckerberg to make the platform less toxic and take swift action on hate speeches.
The boycott campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, started in July is lead by a group of non-profit organizations including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Color of Change, among others. The groups blame Facebook of “allowing racist, violent, and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform,” while “amplifying the messages of white supremacists, permitting incitement to violence, and failing to disrupt bad actors using the platform to do harm.”
“This week’s study from the EU showed that Facebook acts faster and removes a greater percent of hate speech on our services than other major internet platforms, including YouTube and Twitter. We’ve invested heavily in both AI systems and human review teams so that now we identify almost 90% of the hate speech we remove before anyone even reports it to us,” wrote Zuckerberg on his Facebook wall on Friday over creating better standards for hateful content in ads.
Despite years of pressure from civil rights groups and advertisers backlash threats, the California-based company accounts for about 23% of the entire U.S. digital advertising market, as per the EMarketer. The company’s advertising revenue rose 27% in 2019 to more than $69.7 billion.