Facebook advertising boycott is extended

by
Facebook-Chef Mark Zuckerberg

The founder sees his network misunderstood.

(Photo: AP)

Hamburg The advertising boycott of big brands is for Facebook not yet pending. The head of the US Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblatt, has announced that the organizers want to extend the campaign to August. Facebook is still not doing enough against hate speech.

Greenblatt told Forbes magazine that the campaign exceeded the organizers’ expectations, and more and more advertisers joined. Facebook’s efforts against hate messages were far from sufficient. Company boss Mark Zuckerberg said 89 percent of the hate contributions were deleted before anyone saw them. “If a product only works 89 percent, it will fail,” criticized Greenblatt.

Numerous advertisers, including Adidas and Coca Cola, joined the boycott in July to force Facebook to do more against hatred and lies on the platform before the US election.

Facebook’s relatively strong second quarter sales of $ 18.3 billion meanwhile underperform Twitter-Comments for a discussion on the effectiveness of the boycott. However, the boycott only started in July, so that the reluctance of advertisers cannot yet be reflected in the figures.

Facebook chief of finance Dave Wehner said in a conference call on the figures that the boycott is definitely influencing the forecast for the current third quarter. In addition to the corona crisis, the protest is a factor in ensuring that growth remains limited. However, advertising sales rose by ten percent in the first three weeks of July – and were thus roughly at the level of the second quarter.

This shows that there is no break-in. After all, advertising sales grew less strongly in July than in the previous two months, while corona measures were eased worldwide. However, Facebook is also seeing a normalization of user activity, which had increased significantly during the lockdowns.

Facebook manager Sheryl Sandberg tried to defuse the hate speech conflict. Facebook is the first social network to have conducted an audit on social issues. In addition, the group had already invited the critics to the interview at the beginning of July. “It’s an interesting situation: Usually a company is boycotted because it wants something different from the activists. It’s different in our case, ”said Sandberg.

Facebook also does not want hatred on its platform. “We don’t benefit from hate messages. The users don’t want to see them, and the advertisers don’t want to be associated with it, ”she said. Facebook is therefore working with industry associations and other organizations on solutions. At the end of the third quarter, the group wants to present the results of a security review together with the Media Rating Council, an official US media regulator.

Zuckerberg wrongly sees Facebook in the pillory

Earlier in a hearing before a congressional committee, Zuckerberg had asserted on Wednesday that Facebook was actively working against misinformation such as the corona virus. He defended his company in the conference call on the numbers. There is a fundamental difference in how commentators write on Facebook and how users actually perceive the platform. Facebook has helped many users, especially in the corona lockdown.

The vast majority of the content is not about politics, news, disinformation or hatred. “We don’t benefit from disinformation or hate, and we don’t want such content on our platform,” he said. Artificial intelligence sorts out such content to 90 percent.

Critics have a different theory: They think that controversial content increased the usage intensity on Facebook and thus benefited the company. A number of organizations also paid for political advertising and disinformation. CFO Wehner, on the other hand, argued that even in US election years, political advertising contributed only a fraction of sales. This has already been taken into account in the forecast for the third quarter.

Zuckerberg emphasized that the majority of sales come from small advertisers, not from large corporations. He was therefore concerned if the regulators wanted to limit the ability to display advertising based on data. That jeopardizes the efficiency of advertising, which is especially important for smaller advertisers, said Zuckerberg.

More: Tech Hearing in the US Strengthens EU Regulatory Plans

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