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Last week’s newsletter discussed the backlash currently faced by Facebook as a result of its perceived failure to address the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on its social media platform. 

At the time, the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, led by a coalition of advocacy groups including Colour Of Change, NAACP, Anti Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Free Press, and Common Sense Media, had already attracted enough support from prominent companies to inflict something of a PR headache on Facebook.

A week later, it turns out that advertising boycotts from the likes of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and The North Face were more than just a flash in the pan. Indeed, news that Unilever, one of the world’s biggest multinational consumer goods companies, is joining the protest by pausing ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter until “at least” the end of the year, has added substantial heft to the campaign and sent shockwaves through the stock market. 

Unilever’s announcement, which goes further than last week’s month-long Facebook boycotts by spanning the rest of the year (at least) and including both Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Twitter, lends significant weight to the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, inflicting a 7% + share price collapse on both Facebook and Twitter.  

Unilever’s announcement was accompanied by a blog post that clarified the company’s position in no uncertain terms, pointing out that it would be “shifting to other media in the U.S.”:

“We have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.,” Unilever wrote. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”