segunda-feira, 29 de junho, 2020

Why are big brands boycotting social media?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was $7.2 billion poorer last Friday, 26. Shares in the social network fell 8.3% – the biggest decline in three months – after some of the world's largest advertisers declared they will stop running ads on the platform for some time.
Facebook – and, towards the end of the week, Twitter – have been facing a boycott that began on social networks in the United States, with some brands and that, as the days went by, gained greater proportions. Entities linked to the civil movements of that country started the movement #StopHateForProfit ("Stop Giving Profit to Hate", in translation), to pressure advertisers and large companies to withdraw their advertising funds from Facebook platforms because they believe that the company has not been acting effectively to curb and decrease hate speech published in timelines.
While criticism of the way social networks generally allow the free publication of discourses and ideas that can sometimes be offensive – or else contain untruthful information – the outbreak to the current crisis occurred after the outbreak of racial equality movements, which have taken over several cities in the United States recently, following the assassination of security guard George Floyd. As the first street protests began, the country's president, Donald Trump, used his social networks to suggest that police would violently suppress the demonstrations. "When the looting begins, the shots begin," Trump wrote on his Twitter and Facebook profile.
The way Mark Zuckerberg's social network reacted to the president's post was instrumental in embodying the criticism. While Twitter flagged the U.S. leader's message with a violence-inciting content label, Facebook did not filter the post. Zuckerberg and other company executives went on to say that they personally repudiated the statement, but the company institutionally maintained the discourse that it could not interfere with freedom of expression.
Since last week, different civil rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, have decided to use another strategy to demand a social network reaction. The entities began suggesting advertisers stop advertising on Facebook in July as a way to help not foster the social network, which, in the view of these organizations, is permissive about hate speech.
The protest began to gain the membership of brands with an important presence in the United States, such as The North Face, Patagonia, REI, Ben & Jerry's, Eddie Bauer and Magnolia Pictures. On Friday, 26, technology giant Verizon also announced that it would stop temporarily advertising on the social network.
The wave grew, however, with the announcement of Unilever, which not only followed the other broadcasters in the boycott, but expanded the restrictions. The company, which is one of the world's largest advertisers, said it will no longer advertise on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter until the end of 2020. The owner of the Dove, Hellmann's and Clear brands, among others, said it will direct its advertising investments to other media. According to the Pathmatics database and intelligence platform, Unilever allocated $42.3 million to Facebook in 2019. "Continuing to advertise on these platforms at the moment would not add value to people and society. We will continuously monitor and review our current position if necessary," Unilever said in a statement. Also according to the company, the strong polarization that takes over the United States due to the proximity of the elections also contributes to the harmful environment of social networks.
Unilever's withdrawal was the main ingredient in Facebook's devaluation, which lost $56 million in market value last Friday. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the drop in stock value pushed Zuckerberg's net worth back to $82.3 billion - and knocked him into a position ranked among the world's richest people. Previously, Zuckerberg was third behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates and has now been overtaken by Bernard Arnault, head of Louis Vuitton.
On Friday, 26, still reserved another negative event for the finances of social networks. Later in the day, Coca-Cola released a statement announcing that it would pause advertising on all digital platforms for a period of 30 days. The brand justifies the attitude because of a review of its digital ad policies. In the statement, the company pointed to cases of racism and other manifestations of hatred that were not solved by large technology companies. "There is no place for racism in the world and there should be no place on social networks. We will take this time to refit our advertising policies and determine revisions if necessary," James Quincy, CEO of Coca-Cola, said in the statement.
On Saturday, 27, another major global brand, Diageo, also announced that it will not advertise on major social networks during the month of July. The only platform on which the beverage company will keep the ads is YouTube. In a statement on social networks, Diageo declared that it "strives to promote diversity and inclusion also in its marketing campaigns" and that from July 1 will pause, globally, paid advertising on the largest social platforms. "We will continue to talk to media partners about how they are handling this unacceptable content," Diageo said.
Amid these announcements friday, 26, Zuckerberg spoke out to talk about the ways Facebook has been seeking to curb hate speech and misinformation on its platforms. "Specifically, we are expanding our advertising policy to prohibit claims that people of a race, ethnicity, origin, religion, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigrants are treated as a threat to the physical integrity or health of others," he said.
The CEO and founder of Facebook also reinforced the platform's new policies regarding the United States election. According to him, the social network will have a hub of content and information about the election race, which will gather the posts of candidates and political authorities. The company had already announced a few days ago the creation of a tool that allows users to block political ads if they wish.
Barbara Sacchitiello
Meio&Mensagem - 29/06/2020 Noticia traduzida automaticamente
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