New York / San Francisco:
Advertising for more than 400 brands, including Coca-Cola and Starbucks, will disappear from Facebook on Wednesday after recent talks to stop a boycott of hate speech on the website failed.
US civil rights groups have hired multinationals to pressure social media giants to take concrete steps to block hate speech after George Floyd's death and amid a national racism payoff.
Facebook executives, including Carolyn Everson, vice president of global business solutions, and Neil Potts, director of public policy, held at least two meetings with advertisers on Tuesday, the eve of the planned month-long boycott, three sources told Reuters.
But executives didn't release new details on how to fight hate speech, the sources said. Instead, they pointed to the latest press releases and frustrated advertisers on calls who think these plans don't go far enough.
"It just doesn't move," said a senior executive at a large advertising agency about the conversation.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to meet with the boycott organizers, a spokeswoman said late Tuesday.
US civil rights groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and Color of Change launched the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign after the death of Floyd, a black man who died under the knee of a white policeman last month.
The groups outlined 10 demands on Facebook, including allowing people with severe harassment to speak to a Facebook employee and reimbursing brands whose ads appear alongside offensive content that will later be removed.
Facebook earlier this week said it would review its hate speech controls, add plans to flag news content that would otherwise violate its guidelines, and follow similar practices on other social media platforms such as Twitter Inc.
A representative of a digital advertising agency who answered a call on Tuesday said Facebook managers have repeatedly referred to the audit without making additional concessions.
Facebook managers have turned to CEOs, board members, and marketing directors for major advertisers to stop them from boycotting, two people who were informed of the discussions told Reuters. All sources asked for anonymity as they were not authorized to speak in the file.
The boycott will be a test for advertisers on how to reach billions of consumers without relying on the world's largest social media platform, said a senior executive at a major advertising agency.
Companies that run ads to promote their brand image instead of doing direct sales are less committed to Facebook. Many of them, including the multinational advertisers who joined the boycott, will start planning how to achieve the same goals without Facebook, the executive said.
Facebook is unlikely that the boycott will have a major financial impact. The top 100 brands on Facebook in 2019 are likely to have made just 6% of Facebook's $ 70 billion in annual sales. This emerges from a Morningstar research report citing Pathmatics data that measures most types of advertising on the platform. According to Facebook, the 100 largest advertisers accounted for less than 20% of total ad revenue last year.
News of the boycott wiped $ 56 billion off Facebook's market cap after falling 8% on Friday. But stocks recovered 3% on Tuesday and have been trading 8% higher since the beginning of the year.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg asked last week to meet with the organizers of the campaign along with Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer of Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg's long-time friend, who returned to Facebook this month after talking about the last year Management of the company had resigned.
The civil rights groups insisted that Zuckerberg was also at the table. Jonathan Greenblatt, Chief Executive of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that he was "the ultimate authority" as CEO, Chairman and largest shareholder of the company.
The Facebook spokeswoman said late Tuesday that the company confirmed that Zuckerberg would attend the proposed meeting.
"We are waiting for an answer and look forward to the opportunity to continue the dialogue," she said.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)