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Facebook Bows to Ad Boycotts and Will Block Certain Content

By Danny Vena – Jun 29, 2020 at 12:13PM

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After initially refusing to budge, the social media platform is finally yielding to public pressure.

Amid a public outcry and a growing boycott by companies that advertise on its platform, Facebook (META -3.67%) said it will begin to block content that violates the company's policies. In a post to his Facebook page on Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared new measures designed, as he said, "to connect people with authoritative information about voting, crack down on voter suppression, and fight hate speech."  

Zuckerberg also said Facebook would take down any post that incites violence or suppresses voting. "Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down," he said. The company plans to label certain other posts that it deems "newsworthy" that might otherwise violate its policies.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressing a crowded auditorium (pre-pandemic).

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image source: Facebook.

In recent days, more than 90 marketers have joined a boycott of Facebook -- the "Stop Hate For Profit" campaign -- originally organized by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and other civil rights groups. The groups criticized Facebook for not providing more robust fact-checking and for failing to remove political posts containing false or misleading information. The platform has also been accused of being too lax on combating hate speech and not labeling inflammatory posts. 

The campaign seemed to hit a turning point late last week when a number of high-profile advertisers, including consumer goods giant Unilever (UL 1.06%), Coca-Cola (KO -0.72%), and Verizon (VZ -1.90%), joined the boycott. The defections continued over the weekend as Starbucks (SBUX -0.62%) and Diageo (DEO 0.64%) joined in. 

In a statement on the company's website, Starbucks said, "We will pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech." 

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Facebook and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook and Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends Diageo and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
META
$136.41 (-3.67%) $-5.20
Unilever PLC Stock Quote
Unilever PLC
UL
$44.71 (1.06%) $0.47
Verizon Communications Inc. Stock Quote
Verizon Communications Inc.
VZ
$38.64 (-1.90%) $0.75
The Coca-Cola Company Stock Quote
The Coca-Cola Company
KO
$56.57 (-0.72%) $0.41
Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
SBUX
$86.57 (-0.62%) $0.54
Diageo plc Stock Quote
Diageo plc
DEO
$169.94 (0.64%) $1.08

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