More than four hundred major commercial and nonprofit brands worldwide have announced they will boycott Facebook advertising in July in an effort to address hate speech and disinformation being spread on the platform. How does the Facebook boycott affect the nonprofit sector?
Major commercial brands, including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Unilever, REI, Target, and Microsoft, as well as nonprofit brands like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Habitat for Humanity, and the Truth Initiative have formally suspended their advertising on Facebook for the month of July. Facebook generates more than 98% of its revenue from advertising, making a boycott an effective way for organizations to take a stand and drive change.
What is the #StopHateforProfit campaign?
The Anti-Defamation League has partnered with other civil rights organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), to organize a one-month boycott of Facebook advertising. The #StopHateforProfit campaign seeks to apply public pressure on Facebook to, “stop generating ad revenue from hateful content, provide more support to people who are targets of racism and hate, and to increase safety for private groups on the platform.” (source: Associated Press).
The campaign has published a list of 10 steps Facebook could take that they believe would immediately result in real progress. The steps are grouped into categories related to accountability, decency, and support.
On June 26, Facebook announced policy changes in response to the campaign. However, since this announcement, additional advertisers have continued to announce they’re joining the boycott.
How the boycott affects the nonprofit sector
Digital advertising on platforms such as Facebook is a crucial tool for mission-driven organizations to get their message in front of audiences and halting Facebook advertisements may not be a viable option or the most effective form of advocating for change for all organizations.
Your approach to the Facebook boycott strategy will be heavily dependent on your organization. We recommend reviewing your paid advertising budget and having a conversation with your leadership about whether there are any adjustments you want to make in terms of which platforms you are putting your dollars toward.
Some questions to ask yourself and your leadership:
- Can we achieve our advertising goals on another channel?
- Is the audience that we’re able to reach on Facebook and Instagram mission-critical?
- Is this a meaningful stance for our organization to take?
- What will we do on August 1?
Whether your organization is a current client or simply trying to navigate how to proceed, we’re here to share ideas on how we’re transitioning some clients and help you evaluate the impact of pausing your Facebook advertising.