You might have come across the news of the Facebook boycott campaign called #StopHate4Profit. Big brands are boycotting Facebook ads to convince the social media giant to put people over profit.
This campaign stems from the fact that there is rampant hate speech, incitement, and misinformation on Facebook, and its policies are inadequate to tackle these issues.
Brands that have boycotted Facebook ads so far
The boycott began with six civil rights groups calling on big brands and other businesses to stop putting up ads on Facebook. The idea is to compel the platform to fight hate speech and misinformation properly.
So far, companies like PayPal, Pepsi, BMW, HP, Doritos, Upwork, Dashlane, etc., have already announced their support for the boycott. They have been joined by the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, outdoor-products seller REI, and outdoor-clothing brand The North Face.
The latest company to join the Facebook boycott campaign is Verizon, stating:
“We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”
It is to be noted that Verizon has paused ads only for the month of July, which doesn’t make much of a difference to Facebook.
Meanwhile, the messaging app Viber has decided to cut all its ties with Facebook in the wake of “its data violations and failure to combat violent rhetoric.”
But that isn’t enough to hurt Facebook’s revenue
Despite big brands boycotting Facebook, the social media platform seems unbothered by the whole campaign. And it has a solid reason not to sweat, which is the ugly truth as well: pulling Facebook ads for a month would barely hurt its revenue.
It’s not easy to strongarm Facebook by trying to stop a few sources of advertising income, that too for a month or two. Last year Facebook gathered nearly $70 billion through ads through its 8 million advertiser base.
So, unfortunately, a handful of brands participating in the Facebook boycott challenge can barely put a dent on its revenue. To have any noticeable effect on Facebook’s revenue, one would have to get at least hundreds of advertisers, if not thousands.
And Facebook doesn’t really care either
Facebook doesn’t seem to be much affected by the loss of a handful of revenue sources.
In an email to advertisers last weekend, that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Carolyn Everson (VP of Global Business Group at Facebook) wrote, “We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure.” She also said that Facebook sets “policies based on principles rather than business interests.”
Facebook has a 2.60 billion monthly active user base, and that’s pretty massive ground for any brand to advertise its products. So it is quite understandable why companies are only “pausing” the ads, presumably for a short period instead of going all the way to cut ties with Facebook and express their dissatisfaction.
So overall, the entire movement at present seems like a way for companies to express that they don’t agree with what Facebook is doing but not to the extent where it blows up their businesses.