Verizon joins in on Facebook ad boycott

A Facebook ad boycott gathered more steam on Thursday, when telecom giant Verizon said it would pull ads in July over criticisms of the social media giant’s failure to monitor hate speech.

The “Stop the Hate for Profit” campaign had already convinced Unilever-owned ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s to join the campaign, as well as clothing brands The North Face and Patagonia, and REI.

Ad agency Goodby Silverstein said that it, too, would stop posting on Facebook in July.

“We are taking this action to protest the platform’s irresponsible propagation of hate speech, racism and misleading voter information,” it said.

The company’s other prominent advertisers include PepsiCo and BMW. A BMW spokesman told Ad Age that it was not participating in the boycott, while PepsiCo declined to comment.

Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, is by far the largest advertiser to pull ads so far. Ad Age said that through the first three weeks of June, it had spent $850,000 on Facebook ads.

“We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners,” a Verizon spokesman said.

eMarketer recently lowered its projection for Facebook’s ad spending in 2020 to $31.4 billion. That’s down from previous forecasts of $36.25 billion, but still a 4.9 percent gain.

“This one feels different,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst at eMarketer, about the boycott. “It is the largest boycott that I’ve ever seen.”

Still, she could not say for sure whether it will translate into a big ad hit. “It’s massive audience is still hugely important to a lot of advertisers.”

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