- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2020

Several major companies that say they are boycotting Facebook over its tolerance of “hate speech” are still running ads on the social media giant’s platforms, including Ford, Hershey and Verizon. 

At least one company touting its participation in the boycotting, Ford, has started running new ads on Facebook platforms.

 

More than 90 companies have joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign organized by the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and are listed on the campaign’s website. Many other companies have said they are taking similar action to halt their ads on Facebook and social media but declined to formally join the campaign.

Several of these companies have continued running ads on Facebook, shifted advertising efforts to different company-run accounts or actually stepped up their advertising efforts on Facebook sites.



Verizon’s reported decision to pull out of Facebook advertising last month led to many other companies following its lead — but the company has not stopped all advertising on Facebook. As of Thursday morning, Facebook’s Ad Library shows Verizon has more than 20 ads actively running on its platforms.

Verizon told CNBC on June 25 it was, “pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other platforms.” The more than 20 active ads started running in 2019 and 2018 and have continued to run in 2020.

Verizon said Thursday afternoon that the ads may have no remaining budget behind them and that it may have active ads that it is not funding.

Ford, the American automaker, said on June 29 it was stopping its social media advertising because of concerns about hate speech and racial injustice, according to reports. Ford told the Detroit Free Press such action was “core to Ford’s aspiration to be the world’s most inclusive and diverse company,” and it too is listed on the Stop Hate for Profit campaign’s website.

In the first two days of July, Ford then started running multiple new ads on Facebook — just not under its main @Ford account. Instead, Ford began running ads on its @FordIndia account that represents its operations in India, the world’s second most-populated country.

“The first part of this year’s journey has surely been a tug up the hill, but we must remember that collective human effort is capable of moving even mountains,” reads a Ford ad that started running on Facebook on Wednesday, according to the Facebook Ad Library. “In the second half, we can #GoFurther together in our endeavour to defeat all odds. #SecondHalfOfTheYearDay.”

Another @FordIndia ad that started running on Facebook on Thursday encourages Facebook users to save Ford’s phone number on their phones. Ford’s representatives did not answer requests for comment.

The Hershey Co. told The Washington Times on Monday that it was cutting its spending on Facebook ads by a third for the remainder of the year and joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott.

On Thursday, the Hershey Company was running ads from a company account with American managers, just not its main @Hersheys account. Facebook’s Ad Library shows @HersheysCanada has four active ads on Facebook platforms, some ads including French-language text. The chocolate makers did not respond to The Washington Times’ requests for comment on Thursday.

Many of the companies participating in boycotts of Facebook’s advertising platform are not adhering to a single standard of how to do so. Some companies are participating for limited amounts of time, while others have given no timelines.

The active ads visible in the Facebook Ad Library on Thursday may have been in the works before the purported boycotting companies publicly voiced their participation in ongoing boycotts. The Facebook Ad Library shows that some companies participating in the boycotts halted ads at the start of July, such as Coca-Cola’s account in the U.S., @CocaColaUnitedStates.

Coca-Cola previously told The Washington Times it was not formally joining the Stop Hate for Profit campaign but was pausing paid social media advertising on all social media platforms for 30 days.

Facebook declined to comment.

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