Should You Boycott Facebook?


The last couple weeks, I’ve spent most of my time fielding questions and strategizing alternative media plans based on the social media giant, Facebook.

Quick refresher.

Over the last month or so, Facebook has come under fire for how it’s dealt with current events. Like leaving up posts from President Trump that have implied violence against Black Lives Matter Protests.

Facebook’s defense in the matter is that they are not considered a publisher, meaning they are not solely responsible for the content that gets posted on their site. This helps protect them from legal actions that other publishers, like a newspaper, may face. And while Section 230 allows them to keep content up, it also does imply that social media companies operate in “good faith” and remove any lewd or violent content that violates U.S. federal law.

And while other social media outlets, like Twitter, are also not considered publishers, they have taken more aggressive steps to closely monitor content during this time, adding warnings to tweets that may inspire violence or spread misinformation.

This is where the story heats up.

A campaign was announced a couple of weeks ago called Stop Hate For Profit, and it calls for advertisers to pull their ads for the month of July (at least) in order to cut into Facebook’s revenue in hopes of inspiring change on the platform.

The campaign is in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), NAACP, Color of Change, Sleeping Giants, and others.

The companies who spearheaded the movement and were among the first to pull were Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Patagonia, REI, and The North Face. Verizon, Starbucks, Honda, Unilever, and Beam Suntory have also paused ads.

You can find a list of large brands that have pulled out here (it’s being updated every day).

Of course, this hasn’t been met without criticism, with some thinking that while the intentions here are good, it’s going to take a lot more than a one month boycott to enact any meaningful change.

It’s also important to remember that Facebook made $69 BILLION in Facebook ads last year, and that the top 100 companies make up $4.2 Billion, and smaller advertisers make up the rest.

This is what you can do about it.

We’ve had a lot of clients decide to pull back on advertising on Facebook, including SRH ourselves. And that’s left people asking – what can I do with my budget, and how do I keep up with my business goals? Here are some avenues we’ve taken:

  1. Heavier focus on broadcast and radio spots
    BONUS: if you go with a public radio station, you also get a tax kickback, which we love.
  2. Podcasts
    BONUS: Podcast listenership has boomed since the start of the pandemic and hasn’t fallen off. There are lots of podcast networks out there, and pretty much a podcast about everything – so finding a relevant audience shouldn’t be too hard.
  3. SEM & Display Advertising
    BONUS: Are you a non-profit? Look into the Google Grant of $10k for non-profits!

If you have any questions about the boycott, feel free to drop a note. We’d love to field your questions over a virtual happy hour or a mid-morning mimosa.