Confessions of a CMO: A Fortune 500 chief marketer on whether boycott statements are just PR moves, if they’ll really hurt Facebook, and why it’s hard to quit the platform

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A growing number of advertisers including Unilever, Coke, and Starbucks are saying they’ll pull their ads from the platform to protest hate speech on the platform.
Business Insider granted anonymity to a Fortune 500 marketer to speak freely about the situation.
This marketer explained why they pulled ads from Facebook, how it’s an internal struggle to do so, and if they think the current boycott will impact Facebook.
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Facebook is facing a crisis, with more than 200 advertisers saying they’ll pull their ads from the platform temporarily to protest hate speech there.

We talked to one Fortune 500 chief marketing officer — granting this person anonymity to speak candidly — about whether these boycott statements are just PR moves, if they’ll really hurt Facebook’s business, and why it’s hard to quit the platform.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: “We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies. We’ve opened ourselves up to a civil rights audit, and we have banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram. The investments we have made in AI mean that we find nearly 90% of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent EU report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube. We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM [Global Alliance for Responsible Media], and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”

BI: Are you still spending on Facebook?

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CMO: Not in months. Facebook has violated all our brand safety principles. All they give us are ambiguous answers when I ask for clarity on brand safety issues. It’s good they’re addressing these issues now, but they should have done this in 2017. Everything feels like a delay tactic.

I predict they’ll make changes to decrease hate speech and advertisers, government, and the media will think they made sweeping reforms. But they won’t have addressed the underlying causes — their leadership, policy, and governance practices — that let bad actors use their platform.

I’m glad about the attention the boycott is getting. I think others will follow suit.

Why don’t you say this publicly?

I have more leverage talking to them privately.

What’s involved in pulling ads off Facebook?

I’m constantly fighting with our business leads who think it’s killing their business to not be on Facebook. It’s easier for me to move money off Facebook than it is for a bigger spender like P&G, but it’s still hard to reallocate all that video advertising. It’s a short-term logistical headache. And in the pandemic, for companies whose business is soft, it’s hard to take your advertising off a platform that’s working.

For every company that’s boycotting, there’s another 10 that can’t make a decision.

Some call the boycott a PR move by advertisers. Agree?

Half …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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