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“Stop Hate For Profit”

An announcement, not necessarily a new moral

“Against hatred and violence”: So what?

Digital signpost through traffic

Advertisers put pressure – advertising boycott causes the share value to collapse

Just in May, Facebook had acquired its own Supreme Court, the “Content Oversight Board”, and knocked hollow slogans on it, the platform giant is seriously concerned about the self-whitened collar. More and more companies that fear for their seriousness along with sales are apparently fed up with cheap promises – and switch to confrontation.

That means: Dozens of larger and smaller brands and organizations have stopped their advertising campaigns on Facebook for the coming July, some of them are already going far beyond that. The campaign launched in mid-June “Stop Hate For Profit” lists over 90 companies that put pressure on the list. The initiative was launched by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the organization The Color Of Change.

Facebook’s lax handling of disinformation, hateful content and tolerance of racism on the social media platform is harshly criticized. Some of those involved also want to extend the advertising boycott to the Facebook subsidiary Instagram and Twitter.

Zuckerberg’s empire is hit by his Achilles heel: Facebook generates almost all of its revenue from advertising revenue. Huge advertising budgets are luring in the USA: Coca-Cola alone is playing on the US market with an advertising budget of around $ 22 million (estimate for 2019), the Dutch-British consumer goods group Unilever is advertising around 42 million in the land of unlimited possibilities costs.

Coca-Cola wants to stop on all social platforms worldwide, we are talking about a 30-day break. One expects more responsibility and more transparency from his advertising partners, said chief executive James Quincey. You do not want to participate in the boycott, but you do want to review your own advertising strategy. Hershey, one of the world’s leading chocolate producers, plans to join the boycott of USA Today and cut spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year.

The automaker Honda also announced that it would no longer place ads in July, that it wanted to send a signal against hatred and racism. Unilever plans to forego paid advertising on Facebook for the rest of the year, including Twitter. The stop-hate campaign had previously been joined by the US mobile operator Verizon, the large outdoor brands The North Face and Patagonia and the Internet company Mozilla. Facebook stocks came under pressure at the end of the week, with the price falling a good 8 percent. The online marketing platform currently speaks of one $ 7 billion loss; the US news service Bloomberg sees that Drops clearly in the double-digit billion range.

After all, an announcement. For companies, publicity is certainly also linked to the campaign, and this should not be overlooked; Positioning yourself openly against hatred and racism in times like these promises broad impact, which should not have escaped the company strategists. So there is no need to see a new moral behind the initiatives. However, the effects alone seem to set something in motion that mere appeals, hypocritical commitments and half-hearted politics cannot do. It remains to be seen whether there will be any fundamental changes in how hate speech and racism are dealt with in the social network.

Trump’s comments about demonstrators of the “Black Lives Matter” movement – unfiltered on Facebook – brought criticism of Zuckerberg even among employees. Just recently, Facebook actually had an advertising video of the Trump campaign under pressure deleted, which contained symbols from the time of National Socialism.

However, Facebook defends “around 70 percent” of the 160,000 content deleted in 2019 before anyone reported it. On the other hand, the opponents put hard facts into the field, for example that Facebook right-wing Breitbart News, which publicly deny the Holocaust, was awarded the “Trusted News Source” label.

Here and in countless other cases, the big boss didn’t cut a good figure. Now Zuckerberg let me know: “I am against hatred and everything that incites violence.” We’ll see.
(Arno Kleinebeckel)

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