Facebook reverses hate content policy as companies withdraw adverts on platform

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta
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Facebook has bowed to pressure to review its policy on hate content as the platform saw a decrease in its stock on Friday following the withdrawal of advertisements by major companies on the platform.

Mark Zuckerberg, 36, the company CEO announced on Friday June 26, 2020, in a virtual meeting that the company would implement changes to its policy on hate content as the company begins to experience unprecedented decrease in shares.

As of Friday, the company’s shares fell by 8.3% to $216.8 per share.

According to Zuckerberg, the company would now take active measures to eliminate hateful contents in ads, block false claims, fight racial inequality and voter suppression as the 2020 election draws close.

Facebook which had left any of the president’s posts unchallenged would now be flagging politicians’ posts, president’s inclusive that breach its policy.

While asserting his company’s commitment to implement the changes, Zuckerberg stated that “The 2020 elections were already shaping up to be heated — and that was before we all faced the additional complexities of voting during a pandemic and protests for racial justice across the country.”

“During this moment, Facebook will take extra precautions to help everyone stay safe, stay informed and ultimately use their voice where it matters most — voting,” he added.

Facebook commitment to implement change of policy comes as severalmajor corporations halted advertising on the platform just within two weeks. Many other corporations have also indicated intentions to do so.

For instance in a tweet on 19th June, Recreational Equipment Inc., a billion-dollar sporting goods company, indicated intention to halt advertising on some of the social media platform.

“In 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.”

On Facebook, the London-based conglomerate, Unilvever that has over 400 brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Dove toiletries and Lipton was reported to have spent more than $42 million on Facebook U.S. advertising in 2019.

Affirming the company’s stance, Luis Di Como, Unilver executive vice president of global media, said, “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,” he stated.

Speaking about their readiness to improve its policy, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s global marketing vice president said, “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information.”

Our conversations with marketers of civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good,” added Everson.

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