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Unilever Latest Advertiser to Jump Ship on Facebook, Twitter Amid ‘Polarized Atmosphere’ in US

The two major social media stocks – Facebook and Twitter – are both under pressure on Friday, falling 9% and 7% respectively, as more advertisers joined the list of more than 90 marketers pausing their ad spending during the month of July for social media giant Facebook. Twitter shares fell in sympathy with Facebook as investors anticipate the other shoe to drop on its platform as well.

At 17:02 GMT, Facebook is trading $216.93, down $18.75 or -7.96% and Twitter is at $29.12, down $2.25 or -7.17%.

Growing List of Major Advertisers Shunning Facebook

CNBC wrote, “In the week since a group of organizations called on Facebook advertisers to pause their ad spending during the month of July, more than 90 marketers including Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s have announced their intention to join, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants. The group of organizations includes the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.”

“The organizations said they’re asking Facebook to more stringently police hate speech and disinformation by taking a number of actions, including creating a ‘separate moderation pipeline’ for users who say they’ve been targeted because of their race or religion, or to let advertisers see how frequently their ads appeared near to content that was later removed for misinformation or hate, and allow them refunds for those advertisements.”

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No Response from Facebook Yet

Last year, Facebook brought in $69.7 billion in ad revenue globally through its millions of advertisers. The platform said earlier this year it has more than 8 million advertisers, CNBC said.

In a recent memo to advertisers obtained by CNBC, the company’s VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said “boycotting in general is not the way for us to make progress together.”

“I also really hope by now you know that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” she said in the memo. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

Unilever Pauses Facebook and Twitter Advertising for Rest of 2020

Unilever on Friday said it would be pausing brand advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. “through at least the end of the year.”

“Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.,” the company said in an emailed statement it attributed to Luis Di Como, the company’s EVP of Global Media.

“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”

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Twitter’s Response

Twitter’s VP of Global Client Solutions Sarah Personette responded to the move from Unilever in a statement.

“We have developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve the public conversation, and as always, are committed to amplifying voices from underrepresented communities and marginalized groups,” she said. “We are respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Published by

James Hyerczyk

James A. Hyerczyk has worked as a fundamental and technical financial market analyst since 1982. His technical work features the pattern, price and time analysis techniques of W.D. Gann.