Disney Slashes Ad Spending On Facebook Amid Growing Boycott

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Facebook continues to face a boycott from companies upset with its handling of hate speech and divisive content.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. “has dramatically slashed its advertising spending on Facebook Inc.” although Disney “was Facebook’s top U.S. advertiser for the first six months of 2020.”

Disney has joined “hundreds of other companies that have paused spending, including Unilever PLC, Starbucks Corp., Ford Motor Co., Verizon Communication Inc. and many small marketers,” the report said. In addition, “civil-rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP called on advertisers to pull ad spending for July, arguing Facebook hasn’t made enough progress enforcing its policies on hate speech and misinformation.”

The time frame “for Disney’s pullback wasn’t clear,” The Journal reported. “Unlike many other companies, Disney didn’t make a public announcement that it was cutting back on Facebook, but instead shifted advertising plans quietly. The entertainment giant, which is concerned about Facebook’s enforcement of its policies surrounding objectionable content, has paused advertising of its streaming-video service Disney+, the people familiar with the situation said.”

The Journal wrote that Disney was the biggest ad spender during the first half of this year, spending “an estimated $210 million on Facebook ads for Disney+ in the U.S.,” according to research firm Pathmatics Inc. “Disney also paused spending on Facebook-owned Instagram for its sister streaming service Hulu, a person familiar with the matter said. Hulu spent $16 million on Instagram from April 15 to June 30, Pathmatics said.”

“We know we have more work to do,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it would work with civil-rights groups, a leading ad trade group and other experts “to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”

Facebook said late last month “that it planned to evaluate the rules publishers and creators must follow if they wanted to make money from their Facebook content through ads. It will also assess the tools it gives brands to ensure their ads don’t appear near inappropriate content. The audits will be handled by industry measurement watchdog Media Rating Council,” the report continued.

However, Facebook executives, “including Carolyn Everson, vice president of its Global Business Group, previously told advertisers that the company wouldn’t change its policies based on revenue pressure,” The Journal added.

Read the full report here.

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