Facebook’s founder is not having the time of his life this summer. And we’re not referring to the high temperatures that are being registered during this post-lockdown, scorching July, but to the international boycott of Mark’s networks by leading brands. The main victim is Facebook, the target of the #StopHateforProfit campaign that urges users to sign a petition to stop Facebook from receiving benefits from campaigns that spread hate and foster disinformation. But it’s not only this network that is feeling the heat.
Photo: Diego Ventura / Business Insider México
“Enough is enough,” says the campaign website. This is not only a kind of a big brands’ table-slap towards Facebook because it has also spread by association to its little sister Instagram and other networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and even TikTok (which is now facing its own particular techlash… lots of content potential for our next post and is even affecting influencers.
But in this so-called politically correct campaign there are many nuances, and there are already many voices saying at least one of these two things are what is really happening…
(1) Big brands are taking advantage of the momentum to put on hold all their advertising campaigns on behalf of this “good” cause while actually saving up an interesting amount of marketing spend that will come in handy later when faced with strange inter-pandemic times.
(2) That despite the fact that top brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Adidas are withdrawing their advertising from Facebook, this situation won’t even cause a mild headache for Zuckerberg et al. Because, let’s face it. Facebook lives from the millions of medium and small advertisers and not from a few big names. And these millions of small and medium advertisers are now more visible. So every cloud has a silver lining.
Analysing all these phenomena from the communications perspective is complex. I’ve never liked the boycotts – some may even say blackmail – that many brands employ against traditional, digital or now social media to model their discourse and advertising campaigns depending on how certain media are perceived. I’m not sure to what extent it is fair if we look at it from an ethical point of view. But, from the business perspective, it is for sure.
The fact is that as this strange summer rolls out, there are so many changes taking place in the digital ecosystem that I still can’t take a firm position towards them. Perhaps it is more interesting to adopt a mindful attitude and try to assimilate, assume and adapt to the new times. For sure, not an easy task.
Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear enough, #StopHateforProfit.