Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has downplayed a growing boycott of the platform by major advertisers including Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Starbucks.
The advertising boycott was initially pushed by a group of activist organizations, including Color for Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to force Facebook to clamp down on posts “promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.” Known as Stop Hate for Profit, the campaign’s website laments that Facebook has labeled Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and the Daily Caller as a “fact checker.”
Facebook derives the vast majority of its $70 billion yearly profit in advertising, and announcements of boycotts drove the company’s stocks down 8 percent last week. However, Zuckerberg was confident that the boycott will not ultimately hurt the social-media giant.
“My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough,” Zuckerberg told employees at a town hall event last Friday, according to The Information. “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue.”
The CEO added, “Usually I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you’re capitulating.”
The boycott gained steam after Facebook refused in early June to label or remove various posts by President Trump in which he criticized rioters earlier this month, including Trump’s comment that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which was seen by some commentators as a threat to shoot looters. Facebook has since begun to label certain posts, including those by the president.