Unilever Halts Facebook Ads For Remainder of 2020 For Civil Rights Advocacy

A coalition of civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense created the #StopHateForProfit campaign and encouraged companies to pause Facebook ads and Facebook’s other social media advertising platforms during July 2020.

A number of civil rights groups have urged large companies to pause their ad campaigns on Facebook to put pressure on the social media giant to take more concrete steps towards ending hate speech and the spread of misinformation on its platforms.

According to the campaign’s website, Facebook has “long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.” The website also states that “[t]he campaign will organize corporate and public pressure to demand Facebook stop generating ad revenue from hateful content, provide more support to people who are targets of racism and hate, and to increase safety for private groups on the platform, among other measures.”

Unilever has joined this movement by stopping all of its Facebook and Twitter advertising through the end of the year.

The global CPG brand has issued a statement explaining its decision, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society.” It added that it would maintain 2020 ad-spending levels, but shift budget “to other media.”

Other global brands that have joined the movement include Coca-Cola Company, Levis Strauss and Co, and Patagonia.

These drastic changes may negatively impact advertisers in the future because Facebook may roll out tighter advertising guidelines which could cause designing Facebook ads that meet Facebook’s advertising criteria more difficult. These changes may positively affect advertisers because the cost-per-click may decrease as more global brands that have enormous advertising budgets exit Facebook’s advertising platform.

Only time will tell how this movement will impact the digital marketing industry. Stay tuned!

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