Unilever to halt ads on Facebook, Twitter (Reports).
Unilever says it will stop advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at least until the rest of the year, joining a number of companies that have pulled ads from Facebook over the social network’s failure to police racist and violent information.
“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” the consumer goods giant said in a statement Friday. It added that there was much more work to be done in the areas of hate speech and political polarization in the U.S.
“The complexities of the current cultural landscape have placed a renewed responsibility on brands to learn, respond and act to drive a trusted and safe digital ecosystem,” the company said, adding it would shift its planned spending to other media.
Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate with more than $60 billion in annual sales. It owns scores of major consumer brands around the globe, from Lipton tea and Hellmann’s mayonnaise to numerous ice creams (Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s and Klondike) and soaps (Dove, Axe and Lifebuoy) and other personal care products (Dermologica, Degree and Lux).
The racial justice group Color of Change called Unilever’s move to “a huge step forward in holding Facebook accountable for enabling hateful, denigrating and discriminatory content against Black people.”
Unilever is the latest major company to join a boycott organized by civil rights and other advocacy groups under the rallying cry of “#StopHateforProfit.” The protest, spurred by last month’s killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, is supposed to last through July.
A day earlier, Verizon, one of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies, pulled its ads from Facebook.
“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action,” New York-based Verizon said in a statement. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.”
Other advertisers who’ve pledged to temporarily stay off Facebook and other Facebook services such as Instagram include three major outdoor gear companies, Patagonia, The North Face and REI.
Asked about the boycott, a Facebook spokesperson pointed to investments the company made to crack down on hate-speech and noted it had banned white supremacist groups from the platform and was undergoing what the company called a “civil rights audit.”