The past 24 hours has been remarkable, as news broke about a number of social media giants facing a dip in revenue following a wave of major advertising firms choosing to halt their massive social media spends.
The big brands, which include Unilever, Starbucks and Coca-Cola, have decided to halt advertising across Facebook specifically and other social media channels. Hopefully this will have an impact on social media’s engagement with the commercial world.
We are all very aware that many NGOs, businesses, and young children and their distressed parents who have tried to have hate content taken down faced a wall of opposition when approached. The social media giants are loathe to listen to voices from the little people. Now that the big titans of the global brands have stopped advertising, hopefully this will have a reality check.
Many of the organisations issued statements condemning the ongoing access to content of hate commentary and fake news, clearly post the Black Lives Matter movement.
A lot of this activity brings home the time advertisers chose to boycott YouTube in 2017 and again in 2019, when the YouTube platform clearly displayed an inability to ensure that well-known household brands did not appear next to vulgar and offensive content.
Neither lasted too long. The lure of 1.8 billion users proved too strong and the commercial side gave in, which yielded a great bounty for YouTube when its ad revenue rocketed from $8.1 billion to $15.1 billion in the two year gap between 2017 and 2019, seeing the parent company double its share price.
Looking to our friends in the advertising world, the World Federation of Advertisers saw 89% of large multinationals deferring their spending on marketing campaigns in May. We are happy to note that in the past 24 hours Facebook has immediately come out to confirm that it will label potentially harmful posts.
However, few can ignore the power of Facebook.