FACEBOOK shares have plunged £45bn after Coca-Cola and Unilever pulled advertising over the platform’s “failure to stop hate speech”.
Mark Zuckerberg’s wallet felt the bite as this blow pushed him down from third to fourth place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Unilever – the European company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dove – announced it would boycott the social media giant through the end of the year citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarised election period in the US”.
It said in a statement: “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.”
Hours later, Coca-Cola announced it would boycott Facebook for at least 30 days saying “there is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media”.
The announcement caused shares in the platform to crash by 8.3 per cent.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously refused to take action against Donald Trump’s post that suggested mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.
He defended it by saying people deserved to hear unfiltered statements from political leaders.
Twitter, by contrast, slapped a ‘get the facts label’ on them.
Until Friday, Mr Trump’s posts with identical wording to those labelled on Twitter were not altered on Facebook.
Mr Zuckerberg has promised to act on hate speech and did slap a warning label on a Republican National Committee video.
The warning reads: “This video may show violent or graphic content.
“‘We covered this video so you can decide if you want to see it.”
He wrote on his Facebook page announcing sweeping changes.
Mr Zuckerberg said in a live stream: “We will soon start labelling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.
“We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society – but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies.”
Zuckerberg also announced new policies to crack down on hateful language in ads, as well as guidelines on voting information.
He said: “We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord.
“So today we’re prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads. Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others”
“We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.”
Source – The Sun