Facebook has been a platform with wobbly ethics and questionable rules for some time — and now it's facing consequences where they hurt the social media network most.
As many as 19 major companies have, at least temporarily, pulled their ads from Facebook. It's a big loss for the tech behemoth, both in terms of dollars and reputation. Facebook has long been lax on policing hate speech, posts that incite violence, and misinformation.
This was true even as recently as June 2020, when CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg refused to do anything about President Donald Trump's Instagram post that warned: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." (Facebook owns Instagram, in case you didn't know.)
Over time, the public, and even some Facebook employees, have grown fed up and upped their pressure the company. A group called Stop Hate for Profit took action and organized a push for advertisers to pull out for all of July. Feeling the heat, a whole mess of advertisers have since moved off the platform.
Facebook tried to walk back some of its policies on Friday, announcing new rules that might do something about problematic content – but they also leave lots of room for interpretation. As Mashable's Jack Morse wrote: "Mark Zuckerberg has a bold new plan to occasionally do something about content that violates Facebook's policies. Every now and then. When the company feels like it."
Meanwhile, the advertisers continue to flee. Here's a list of the major companies we've spotted thus far.
This feels like an obvious choice from the progressive ice cream maker. It said in a statement it would halt all paid advertising on Facebook starting July 1.
"Ben & Jerry’s stands with our friends at the NAACPOpens a new window and Color of ChangeOpens a new window, the ADLOpens a new window, and all those calling for Facebook to take stronger action to stop its platforms from being used to divide our nation, suppress voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine our democracy," it said in a statement.
The massive consumer goods company — and coincidentally, Ben & Jerry's parent company — announced it would not only pull all U.S. ads from Facebook, but Instagram and Twitter, as well.
"Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society," it said in a statement.
The telecom giant announced it would stop all Facebook advertising.
"Our brand safety standards have not changed," a Verizon spokesperson told Mashable on Thursday. "We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action. 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."
The outdoor gear brand sent out a tweet saying it was joining the ad boycott.
Another company focused on the outdoors, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (commonly known as REI), jumped on the boycott not long after The North Face.
"For 82 years, we have put people over profits," it said in a tweet. "We're pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July."
Not to miss out while its competitors boycotted, Patagonia (yet another outdoor brand) joined in as well.
The company sent out a number of tweets on the subject, saying, in part, that "Facebook has failed to take sufficient steps to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform."
The messaging software company told AdWeek it planned to indefinitely cut all spending with all Facebook properties.
The password management provider committed to pulling ads for at least all of July. Joy Howard, the company's chief marketing officer, wrote a blog calling out the effect advertising on Facebook has had on the world at large.
"What’s changed is that advertising is no longer about growing your customer base and building your business by bankrolling the free press," Howard wrote. "We’re no longer helping to pay the salaries of journalists documenting truth and editorialists making sense of the world. Instead we help fuel an engine of hate. The engine that polarizes communities runs on our ad dollars."
The Hollywood studio that makes doc and independent films said it would pause all advertising through at least July in "seeking meaningful change at Facebook and the end to their amplification of hate speech."
The clothing brand wrote in a tweet that it believes in the "power of collective action" and hoped the boycott would make Facebook change.
The recruiting company put out a tweet noting that it was joining the movement.
In a Friday statement from Birchbox posted on Instagram, the beauty-focused subscription service joined the boycott as well.
"In support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, Birchbox US will be pausing paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram during July, and plan to re-allocate our advertising dollars to other platforms and to support more individual content creators," the statement reads.
"We want Facebook to acknowledge this demand for change and to commit to making the necessary changes suggested on StopHateForProfit.org."
The clothing brand that brings us Levi's jeans joined the boycott on Friday, committing the announcement to a blog post attributed to the Levi's brand Chief Marketing Officer Jen Sey.
"[W]e are voicing our concern about Facebook’s failure to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform. We believe this inaction fuels racism and violence and also has the potential to threaten our democracy and the integrity of our elections," the post reads.
Sey goes on to note that Levi's advertising will be paused through "at least" the end of July. "When we re-engage will depend on Facebook's response."
James Quincy, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, also released a statement on Friday confirming the company's commitment to "at least" a 30-day pause on Facebook ads.
"There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media. The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners."
Mozilla hasn't advertised on Facebook or Instagram for several years, but the company put out a message of support standing with all the other #StopHateForProfit companies.
Starbucks plans to pause paid advertising on all social media platforms, according to a Saturday evening statement posted on the company's "Stories & News" website, under the heading: "Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Online Communities."
"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech. We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change," the statement reads.
"We will pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech."
Starbucks later confirmed to Mashable that YouTube isn't among the list of platforms where ads will be paused, as reported elsewhere.