Facebook Faces Heat from “Woke” Companies but Boycott Has Little Effect on Bottom Line

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This combination of 2019-2020 photos shows Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the four Big Tech leaders answered for their companies’ practices before Congress at a hearing by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Evan Vucci, Jeff Chiu, Jens Meyer)

By: Jared Evan

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon are receiving a beatdown from all sides of the political spectrum.

Critics on the right bemoan the censorship of conservative views and censorship of doctors and other controversial videos across social media. Critics on the left, bemoan that Facebook (in particular) is not doing enough to censor “hate speech”, while both sides of the aisle are in agreement that Google is a total monopoly and has a grip on almost all internet searches and handles almost 90% of all internet advertising,

There has been so many letters, hearings, and threats from politicians the last few weeks, one can lose count. Florida Rep Gaetz alleged that Zuckerberg made false statements to Congress about Facebook’s content moderation during two hearings two years ago in a letter to the AG, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and a host of other House conservatives introduced legislation on that would block big tech giants from censoring lawful political speech on the Internet,  §230 of the Communications Decency Act is waved around, a anti-trust hearing with members of the House Judiciary committee featuring the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Amazon went on for hours on end. Breitbart ran detailed reports, showing how Google is manipulating their search engine, Project Veritas ran undercover exposes on Facebook, it goes on and on.

Still, none of this has made a dent in big tech’s bottom line.

TJV has covered extensively what the right has been fighting for, mainly free speech and the 1st amendment. What about the left?

The American left these days are all about ending hate speech. Many large corporations have jumped on the anti-hate speech, anti-racism, and anti-Trump bandwagon. The Ny Times reported on developments from the left. It is worth noting, boycotting is a standard left-wing tactic that is used for their political end goals.  The right has never been as active with out in the open boycott campaigns, however with issues such as kneeling in the NFL, the right as individuals may boycott. Organized campaigns set on driving away business is a modern left leaning phenomenon. From attempts to destroy conservative talk shows by boycotting and harassing sponsors of titans like Rush Limbaugh, to attempts at boycotting the entire Jewish State of Israel with BDS,  financial boycotts sometimes are successful at hurting one’s bottom line, sometimes the result is diminishment of reputation. BDS is a two-fold attack, attack economically and besmirchment of reputation.

The anti-Facebook campaign is hurting the social media giant’s reputation but is not really affecting their bottom line.

The Times pointed out: “What could really hurt Facebook is the long-term effect of its perceived reputation and the association with being viewed as a publisher of ‘hate speech’ and other inappropriate content,” Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, the executive vice president of the public opinion analysis company RepTrak, wrote in a post last month.

The NY Times reported: A   boycott, called #StopHateForProfit by the civil rights groups that organized it, urged companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook in July to protest the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. More than 1,000 advertisers publicly joined, out of a total pool of more than 9 million, while others quietly scaled back their spending.

Many of the companies that stayed away from Facebook said they planned to return, and many are mom-and-pop enterprises and individuals that depend on the platform for promotion., the Times reported.  Essentially this was more of a virtue signaling exercise than a serious boycott.

The NY Times went on: Facebook said that the top 100 spenders contributed 16 percent of its $18.7 billion in revenue in the second quarter, which ended on June 30. During the first three weeks of July, Facebook said, overall ad revenue grew 10 percent over last year, a rate the company expects to continue for the full quarter.

Out of the top 100 advertisers, nine companies formally announced a pullback in paid advertising, cutting their spending to $507,500 from $26.2 million. While that is a substantial amount of revenue lost, it dwarfs Facebook’s over all picture.

The NY Times explained “woke” business activists put a lot of pressure on advertising agencies, who corporations partner with to maximize visibility via advertising. Agencies existence relies on getting their clients out there, from print, to Broadcast TV, Cable, and digital advertising and producing results.

The NY Times reported: The Kansas-based digital agency DEG had “a whirlwind of a month” as its small to midsize clients grappled with whether they could reach enough customers without Facebook, said Quinn Sheek, its director of media and search. Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram make up more than a third of digital spending for DEG clients.

In the end, 60 percent of DEG clients joined the July boycott in an effort to “fit in” with the mob, however four out of five are planning to return to Facebook in August, the NY Times reported.  Facebook/Instagram is too powerful an advertising tool to skip out of for too long.

One must question this entire campaign to begin with. What exactly do the activists consider “hate speech”? Facebook is heavily censored, using the word “retarded” for example, can get you suspended.  This amounts to a strange dichotomy, one where social media is filled with vile hate mongers, and another where even supporting Trump can find you suspended or permanently banned.  The later, via documented proof tends to be the truth. Censorship and control of language and ideas permeates social media, from Facebook, to google searches, to YouTube, to Twitter.  The left’s campaign appears to be a political maneuver against the right and an attempt to censor opposing ideas as “hate speech”

Both sides, however, see eye to eye on one thing, the monopoly aspect of the big tech giants. This attempted boycott is evidence of the reach of Facebook. As bad as these corporations wanted to go along with the pressure of “woke” activists, Facebook is just too important of an advertising tool, to stay away from for too long. Maybe this should be the line of defense against Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter: antitrust action  While the bias against conservatives is obvious as water is wet, very little has been accomplished against big tech with 3 years of heated rhetoric and proposals. In a rare instance where all sides agree, it is time to seize the moment.

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