Advertisers Dumping Facebook Like A Common Myspace
Shares in Facebook dropped one percent on Monday, following a 8.3 percent slide on Friday after several companies announced they were boycotting the social network. The two-day stock decline erased $60 billion in Facebook's total market value. As the guy in a cowboy hat says in every movie set in a casino, “You win some, you lose some."
Most businesses avoid giving companies a moral standing to cut and run, but Facebook has remained defiantly obtuse regarding the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform. Now major corporations such as Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Unilever, Levi's, and Verizon all want out.
The #StopHateForProfit boycott campaign impacts all social media companies, but Facebook is in the deepest shit because it hasn't even tried to slow the spread of hateful garbage and outright lies. Twitter at least slaps a metaphorical mask on some of Donald Trump's most egregious tweets.
Facebook obviously has more than a few dozen advertisers. (It's closer to eight million.) According to BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon, the boycott won't harm Facebook long term. There's arguably a "bigger impact" if Facebook actually cleaned up its act. It's like the famous “recall or not recall?" formula from Fight Club.
Fight Club - The Recall Coordinator's Formula youtu.be
Friday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will take some bare-ass minimum measures against misinformation. The platform will leave up lies but just flag them as “newsworthy" because unfiltered libel is apparently “newsworthy."
A handful of times a year, we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm. Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms.
Oh, fuck you. Maybe Zuck's parents toilet trained him with copies of the Weekly World News, but respectable publications don't just uncritically “report what a politician says."
We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society — but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies.
Dummies who trade their cows for magic beans aren't this naive. There is zero evidence that most people glom onto hateful, incendiary content so they can righteously “condemn it." No, you roll your eyes when your Nana shares racist screeds about “black-on-black crime" because she believes the propaganda.
Facebook generates revenue from user engagement -- good or bad -- and Zuckerberg will gladly keep feeding the beast. During his Live on the Sunset Strip concert, Richard Pryor said he'd gotten so fucked up at one point that even cocaine dealers felt bad about selling him more shit. Zuckerberg has no such qualms, apparently. “Trump says voting will give you COVID-19? Let the people decide what's true," he seems to be saying.
Joe Scarborough offered a scathing indictment recently of Zuckerberg and Facebook's Lean-In Specialist Sheryl Sandberg, saying they care more about "protecting their billions" than they care about the "protection of 75-year-old men who were brutalized in a march for black justice, more than the protection of American democracy." The implication that two Jewish billionaires are willingly destroying the world for profit is gross.
It's much fairer to take Zuckerberg at face value and believe he's sincere when he talks about the digital square, but that just means he's just in over his head.
And like the scientists in Jurassic Park, he never considered whether he should've created this monster in the first place.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."