Companies fight hate speech with Facebook boycott
Facebook once again came under fire, this time for not doing enough to silence hate speech. With companies feeling the pressure to play a role in the civil rights protests happening throughout North America, hundreds of companies have vowed to pull out of Facebook ads through July. The “Stop Hate for Profit” cause is gaining support every day, with some companies like Unilever taking it a step further by shutting down ads on Instagram and Twitter as well.
TikTok debuted TikTok for Business
With so many companies taking budget out of Facebook, TikTok is hoping to capitalize by launching its own ad platform, TikTok for Business. While many still view TikTok as the social media application dominated by preteens learning how to dance, it’s actually bigger than Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. Even Facebook gave up on trying to slow it down, having recently pulled the plug on their copycat application, Lasso. With a user base of over 800 million and a ridiculous 2 billion downloads, TikTok has a massive audience and is definitely worth a look.
The user interface does take some time to get used to, but the ad platform has everything you’ve come to expect. Offering video and static image ads, marketers can target by gender, location, age, interests, and more.
Companies continue to struggle with addressing social issues
Starbucks and McDonalds were two of the many companies that received backlash for their statements and ads in response to the death of George Floyd and other people of colour. Starbucks made a statement and donation but followed it up by forbidding staff from wearing clothing that supports Black Lives Matter (which has since been retracted). McDonalds launched an ad listing the names of black victims with the statement, “They were one of us”. This, shortly after failing to provide their own frontline workers with adequate health and safety measures during the spread of COVID-19.
In contrast to these cases, Ben and Jerry’s have rightfully been praised for their no-nonsense approach, releasing the straightforward statement, “We must dismantle white supremacy. Silence is NOT an option”. It was well-received not only because of the to-the-point language but because it is a statement they’ve backed up with action for decades. At this point, companies should be aware that a simple statement and one-time donation isn’t enough to absolve them from a checkered past. It’s easy for consumers to pick out who’s authentic and who’s opportunistic. For the latter, statements better come with acknowledgement and action.