2020 Facebook ad boycotts
The 2020 Facebook ad boycotts were a group of boycotts that took place during the month of July 2020. Much of the boycotts were organized by several advocacy groups under the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. Over 1,000 companies participated in the boycott.
In June 2020, Facebook refused to censor a post that contained Donald Trump's "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" statement, as well as a post by Trump that criticized the CHAZ. Mark Zuckerberg later defended this move. This led to immense criticism and later became one of the factors leading to the boycott.
According to Jonathan Greenblatt, one of the organizers behind the boycott, the idea for the boycott arose because his organization thought that Facebook was not doing enough to censor hate speech. He noted posts from Boogaloo boys that targeted the George Floyd protests. He requested a meeting with Facebook representatives but was turned down. After communicating with Rashad Robinson and Derrick Johnson, the three of them launched the campaign.
On June 17, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Color of Change, Common Sense Media, Free Press and Sleeping Giants revealed the Stop Hate for Profit campaign through a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. The coalition of organizations grew to include the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mozilla and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign called for an ad pause in June 2020, asking companies to pause spending on Facebook and Instagram ads for July 2020.
On June 26, Unilever announced that it would join the boycott. The next day, one of the organizers of the boycott announced that the boycott would now aim to include European companies. In addition, Coca-Cola announced that it would join the boycott.
On July 7, the organizers of the boycott met with Facebook representatives as well as Zuckerberg. The organizers disliked the meeting, and brought up how Facebook did not set any dates or make detailed plans.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of participants:
- Bank of Montreal
- Beam Suntory
- CVS Health
- Dunkin' Donuts
- Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Lululemon Athletica
- Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Unilever, including Ben & Jerry's
- VF (JanSport, The North Face, Vans)
Writing for The Verge, Casey Newton argued that the companies that took part in the boycott acted "as if Facebook doesn't ban hate speech at all", and that the boycott should've focused on the company's monopoly power.
Several writers noted that many businesses had already cut their marketing budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of Facebook's revenue comes from small to mid-sized companies, and the top 100 advertisers only comprise 6% of the total revenue, suggesting that a boycott would be futile. The long-term impact of the boycott was expected to be minimal, as an industry analyst predicted that advertisers would ramp up spending during the period.
On June 26, the share price of Facebook dropped by 8.3%. On the same day, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company would begin to place "warning labels" on posts such as those by Trump. In addition, the company would prohibit certain types of ads and misinformation related to voting. This was criticized by the organizers of the boycott.
On June 30, Facebook removed several groups and users associated with the Boogaloo movement.
In August 2020, Facebook and Instagram began removing 1,500 QAnon pages and groups that discussed violence, and in early October reportedly committed to removing all QAnon content, even if it does not explicitly refer to violence. On October 12, CNN and other news outlets cited recent increased pressure, including from the #StopHateForProfit boycott and campaign's nonprofit organizers, such as Color of Change, the Anti-Defamation League, and NAACP in Zuckerberg's decision to expand Facebook's "hate speech policy to include content that 'denies or distorts the Holocaust', a major shift for the platform, which has repeatedly come under fire for its inaction on hateful and false information."
- Wong, Julia Carrie (11 July 2020). "'Too big to fail': why even a historic ad boycott won't change Facebook". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Ghaffary, Shirin (15 July 2020). "Why Facebook is "the front line in fighting hate today"". Vox. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Hern, Alex (24 June 2020). "Facebook to be hit by its largest ever advertiser boycott over racism". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Rodrigo, Chris Mills (17 June 2020). "Civil rights groups call for Facebook ad boycott". The Hill. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- Heilweil, Rebecca (17 June 2020). "Civil rights organizations want advertisers to dump Facebook". Vox. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- "Stop Hate for Profit". Stop Hate for Profit. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
- Fung, Brian (19 June 2020). "The North Face is the biggest brand yet to join Facebook ad boycott". CNN. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- Wong, Queenie; Rayome, Alison DeNisco (20 June 2020). "North Face, REI join Facebook ad boycott organized by civil rights groups". CNET. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
- Graham, Megan (22 June 2020). "Patagonia joins growing list of companies boycotting Facebook ads". CNBC. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Statt, Nick (25 June 2020). "Verizon is the biggest advertiser to join the Facebook ad boycott so far". The Verge. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
- Dang, Sheila (26 June 2020). "Unilever to stop U.S. advertising on Facebook, Twitter for rest of year". Reuters. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Dang, Sheila (28 June 2020). "Exclusive: Facebook ad boycott campaign to go global, organizers say". Reuters. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "Coca-Cola suspends social media advertising despite Facebook changes". BBC News. 27 June 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Wong, Queenie (7 July 2020). "Facebook ad boycott organizers: Meeting with Zuckerberg was 'disappointing'". CNET. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Brandom, Russell (7 July 2020). "Facebook boycott organizers call Mark Zuckerberg meeting "a disappointment"". The Verge. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Kim, Allen; Fung, Brian (2 July 2020). "Facebook boycott: View the list of companies pulling ads". CNN. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
- Deschamps, Tara (29 June 2020). "Canadian companies Lululemon, MEC, and Arc'teryx join Facebook ad boycott". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Wakefield, Jane (30 June 2020). "Facebook: Aviva and Intercontinental Hotels Group pause ads". BBC News. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- "Canada's 5 big banks join anti-hate advertising boycott of Facebook". CBC News. The Canadian Press. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
- Ivanova, Irina (30 June 2020). "More advertisers fleeing Facebook as boycott grows". CBS News. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Graham, Megan (27 June 2020). "Diageo will pause ad spend on major social media platforms". CNBC. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
- Bond, Shannon (1 July 2020). "Over 400 Advertisers Hit Pause On Facebook, Threatening $70 Billion Juggernaut". NPR. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- Graham, Megan (27 June 2020). "The Facebook ad boycotts have entered the big leagues. Now what?". CNBC. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Crawford, Hal (7 July 2020). "Stuff has taken the sword to Facebook. Is it the start of a media revolution?". The Spinoff. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- Newton, Casey (30 June 2020). "The Facebook boycott advertisers have the right company but the wrong diagnosis". The Verge. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Clayton, James (29 June 2020). "Could a boycott kill Facebook?". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
- Bond, Shannon (26 June 2020). "In Reversal, Facebook To Label Politicians' Harmful Posts As Ad Boycott Grows". NPR. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
- Fung, Brian (30 June 2020). "Facebook bans hundreds of accounts related to the Boogaloo extremist movement". CNN. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- "Facebook says it will now ban all pages supporting QAnon, the antisemitic conspiracy theory". Haaretz.
- "Facebook will ban Holocaust denial posts under hate speech policy". CNN.
- "Facebook, in a reversal, will now ban Holocaust denial content under its hate-speech policy".
- "Facebook has more users in India than anywhere else. It's now dealing with a hate speech crisis". CNN.