Facebook Stock Plunges After Advertisers Run for the Hills

Daniel Fowler
June 29, 2020

Facebook lost a whopping $56 billion in market value on Friday as advertisers ran for the hills. Twitter shares sank 7.40 percent by the end of the trading day.

Coca-Cola, Verizon Communications and the Hershey candy company also announced they stopped advertising on social media in the wake of criticism that Facebook has not done enough to combat the vast amounts of hate speech and fake news that is spread on its platform. The coffee chain does not consider the video platform a social media platform per se and they said they're already working with site to ensure appropriate guidelines. "We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary".

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is responding to the boycott with a set of new rules created to combat hate speech and voter suppression.

Facebook's move could have indirect ramifications for hate speech in India too. He said the company would change its policies to ban hate speech in advertisements.

Unilever, the parent company to brands including Lipton tea and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, said it would stop advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the USA until the end of 2020 due to the "polarized election period". He said the company will put a link to the voting hub on all posts related to voting, and will also start marking posts that violate Facebook's rules, although the posts will remain up if they are newsworthy.

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Lululemon, a fitness apparel retailer, which spends Rs268 million ($1.6 million) on ads, voiced solidarity on Twitter with the boycott campaign and said that it was "actively engaging with Facebook to seek meaningful change". It will continue to post on social media without paid promotion.

"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech", the company's statement said. "Similarly, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I'm announcing here today". ". We are still going to allow people to share this content in order to condemn it just like we do with other problematic content because that is an important part of how we discuss", Zuckerberg added.

"To clarify one point", he continued, "there is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting".

Also, Facebook will do more to protect immigrants, migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from ads that suggest they are inferior to other groups of people or from ads that express contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them. "We're continuing to review our policies, and we'll keep working with outside experts and civil rights organizations to adjust our approach as new risks emerge". Even if a politician or government official says it, if Facebook determines that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, Zuckerberg said it will take that content down.

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