Hundreds of companies around the world have joined a temporary ad boycott against Facebook Inc., but CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is not worried and does not intend to change his policy, according to a new report.
“My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
Zuckerberg said the boycott is more a public relations issue than one that will hurt the social-media giant’s final line, according to a report Wednesday by The Information, which cited a printout of remarks Zuckerberg made at a virtual town hall for employees Friday.
“We will not change our policy or strategy for anything because of a threat to a small percentage of our revenue or to a few percent of our revenue,” he said according to The Information.
While generating headlines, the boycott represents only a small fraction of Facebook’s roughly 8 million advertisers. The company generates almost all of its revenue from advertising.
Read: Here are the biggest brands that have taken ads from Facebook
The #StopHateForProfit campaign was launched by civil rights groups last month, demanding large companies stop their Facebook advertising spend for July to protest the company’s inability to speak out hate speech, threats of violence and misinformation on its platform.
Part of Friday’s virtual city hall streamed to the public from Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, where he announced some policy changes to crack down on hateful content and cast incorrect information. But he was reportedly more blunt in private comments to employees, saying that Facebook would not dig into the press.
“You know, we haven’t technically set our policy because of any pressure people apply to us,” he said according to The Information. “And in fact, I usually think that if someone goes out and threatens you to do something, you actually put yourself in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want, because now it looks like you’re surrendering, and it creates poor long-term incentives for others to do so [to you] also.”
Experts told MarketWatch on Wednesday that companies that join the boycott may see a bigger boost for their brands than Facebook ads would have generated in the first place.
“By drawing ads, they save money and make a low-risk statement that results in positive publicity and marketing for their brand ingredients,” Gerard Francis Corbett, a communications strategy consultant based in Silicon Valley, told MarketWatch. “The Facebook boycott is a lower-risk way for CEOs to make one [political] statement.”
Earlier this week, Rohit Kulkarni, CEO of MKM Partners, wrote in a note to customers that the advertising boycott would affect less than 5% of Facebook’s revenue.
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