Billions giant Unilever boycotted Facebook and Twitter

With Unilever, the platforms Twitter and Facebook lose another large corporation that no longer wants to advertise. Honda also joins. Both companies choose clear words.

Facebook is under increasing pressure due to its controversial handling of racist, inflammatory and manipulative content. The consumer goods giant Unilever and the car maker Honda announced on Friday that they would no longer advertise on the online network and its subsidiary Instagram in the US for the time being. This means that a boycott campaign against the platform that started in the previous week is receiving significant influx.

Honda announced that it would no longer place ads on Facebook and Instagram in July to send a signal against “hate and racism”. Unilever even wants to forego paid advertising for the rest of the year – not just on Facebook but also on Twitter. The short message service, on which US President Donald Trump likes to publish his often controversial messages, has also been criticized for some time.

Facebook in der Defensive

Unilever justified the decision with the responsibility of the company in dealing with controversial contributions on the net – especially in view of the tense political atmosphere in the USA. Facebook and Twitter would have to do more, especially when it comes to hate comments and disparate posts during the US election campaign. The Dutch-British group does not want to cut its US advertising budget, but only redistribute it to other companies.

Facebook said in a statement that it would invest billions of dollars annually in the security of its community. The group works continuously with external experts to review and update its guidelines. Thanks to this commitment, almost 90 percent of the hate comments were found before users drew their attention. “We know we have more to do,” said a company spokesman. Facebook will therefore develop further instruments, technologies and guidelines.

Calls for civil rights activists

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg also announced in a livestream that his company would take more action against hate messages and delete false reports before the US presidential election in November. In addition, standards for advertising would be raised to block derogatory and hateful messages about ethnicity, religion or sexual preferences. “I stand against hatred and everything that incites violence,” said Zuckerberg.

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US civil rights organizations had called on companies to boycott Facebook last week. This is how the group is to be hit at a sensitive point – Facebook generates almost all of its sales with advertising revenue. The US wave of protests against racism and police violence has again flared up criticism of Facebook for carelessly handling controversial posts. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg also made a significant contribution to this, refusing to take action against controversial statements by US President Donald Trump. There was even criticism from our own employees.

Previously, several other companies, including the US mobile communications giant Verizon and the well-known outdoor brands The North Face and Patagonia, had joined the #StopHateForProfit initiative. Unilever – whose ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s was also there – is now going one step further – because the campaign was initially only about an advertising boycott in July. After the announcement by the consumer goods company, Facebook and Twitter came under strong pressure on the stock exchange.

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