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Facebook, Twitter Shares Plunge As Brands Boycott Ads On Social Media

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On Friday, Facebook shares fell sharply by $56 billion after consumer product giants Unilever and Coco-Cola joined Dove, Honda and Ben & Jerry in support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign by pulling their advertisements from social media platforms. The stock slumped 8.3 percent to $216.08 per share at closing time on Nasdaq.

Facebook, Twitter Shares Plunge As Brands Boycott Ads On Social Media
 

Unilever, one of the largest advertisers, which has an annual advertising budget of almost $8 billion according to a Bloomberg report, said that it will not advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram for the rest of the year because of the hate speech and polarized politics that users often post.

Shares of Twitter Inc closed 7.4 percent lower on NYSE.

"Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society," Unilever said in an emailed statement according to a Bloomberg report. "We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary."

The fall in market cap of Facebook also wipes off $7.2 billion of founder Mark Zuckerberg's net worth, pushing him down to the fourth richest person in the world on Bloomberg Billionaires' Index with his new net worth of $82.3 billion.

Coca-Cola announced that it will pause all paid social media advertising globally for at least 30 days saying 'there is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media.'

Under pressure after a boycott by 100 advertisers, Zuckerberg announced new content policies for his social media platforms, including tighter restrictions on advertising and labels for 'harmful' and 'hateful' posts from public figures. He said that the company will be labelling all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub.

While Twitter has been taking an active stance on offensive posts, Facebook Inc has continued to receive opposition from civil rights groups for years. Frustrations erupted after Zuckerberg said that a series of posts from US President Donald Trump about race-related protests were not a violation of the company's rules. These posts were flagged on Twitter.

 

Apart from a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups that asked brands to stop spending on advertisements on Facebook-owned platforms in support of their movement, the employees of Facebook also staged a walkout to protest its policy decisions.

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Story first published: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 13:08 [IST]
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