CVS joins Facebook advertiser boycott, social media giant's $70B honeypot takes another hit

200+ brands boycotting ads on Facebook

FOX Business’ Susan Li says the Clorox Company, along with other companies, are pausing advertisements on Facebook in an effort to target the social media platform for reported hate speech.

CVS joined hundreds of companies Wednesday in an advertiser boycott of Facebook over its hate speech policies.

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“Actions speak louder than words, which is why we’ve made the decision to pause advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for at least 30 days,” CVS said in a statement. “We’ll use that time to define our strategy going forward, built around the simple principle that we won’t support any platform that isn’t taking meaningful steps to eliminate hate speech and misinformation.”

Civil rights groups like the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League started this “Stop Hate For Profit" movement last month to put pressure on Facebook to change its policies surrounding hate speech.

VERIZON JOINS FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AD BOYCOTT AGAINST HATE SPEECH, MISINFORMATION

CVS said it has “chosen to act with independence to ensure that our standards are met, and values are upheld,” which reflects the loose and evolving nature of the boycott.

For instance, the outdoor apparel company REI said it is “pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.” Meanwhile, Patagonia said it is pulling ads at least through the month of July, “pending meaningful action from the social media giant.” Still, others like CVS are pulling advertisements from all social media, not just Facebook.

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It’s unclear how much the advertiser boycott will cut into Facebook’s profits. The company collected $69.7 billion in advertising revenue in 2019, which was 98.5 percent of its overall revenue.

Facebook has gone into damage control mode since the boycott started, announcing Friday that it will start flagging political content that violates its policies as newsworthy if “the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm.”

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The tech giant has faced a backlash over leaving up content by President Trump that some say incites violence, such as when he tweeted that if people try to erect an autonomous zone in Washington, D.C., they will be met with “serious force.”

But a spokesperson for Facebook told FOX Business that none of Trump’s tweets would be flagged under this new policy because there is a carveout for the “discussion around state use of force.”

"Nothing would be labeled newsworthy because the newsworthy label only applies to content that violates our policies, and none of his past posts violate our policy,” the Facebook spokesperson told FOX Business Friday.

FACEBOOK WILL START FLAGGING SOME POLITICAL CONTENT THAT VIOLATES ITS POLICIES

Even if Facebook did put the “newsworthy” label on the post by Trump and others like it, the “Stop Hate for Profit” group still said it wouldn’t be enough. The group listed the policy change as insufficient on Monday.

“Posts from someone ‘newsworthy’ that call for violence will be labeled – but they will still be allowed despite the clear harm that they may pose,” the group wrote in an update.

In addition, Facebook also expanded its ban on hateful content in ads and created a new “Voting Information Center” to share information on how and when you can vote.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Tuesday, Reuters reported that multiple Facebook executives held calls with advertisers but offered no new details on how they plan to tackle hate speech. Reuters also reported that Facebook agreed on Monday to an audit by the Media Rating Council, a media measurement group, to gauge how well it controls hate speech.

Facebook took action this week to remove a network of accounts connected to the extremist "boogaloo" movement, a group that is trying to bring about a second Civil War.

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