Mark Zuckerberg has $7 billion wiped off his fortune as Coca-Cola halts all social-media advertising for 30 days

June 29, 2020 in International

A boycott of Facebook by major advertisers is hammering the social-media giant’s stock price and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune.

Zuckerberg’s net wealth was down an estimated $7.21 billion as of Saturday, while Facebook’s share price dropped more than 8% at the close of Friday trading, as the ad boycott snowballed.

Coca-Cola is the latest brand to back the #StopHateforProfit campaign by American civil-rights groups.

CEO James Quincey on Friday said Coca-Cola would halt all its social-media ads for 30 days and was rethinking its policies.

“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Quincey wrote on Coca-Cola’s site. “The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”

The #StopHateforProfit campaign launched June 19 in the wake of George Floyd’s death following an arrest in Minneapolis and the subsequent worldwide protests. It was triggered by Facebook’s refusal to take action against a post by President Donald Trump that threatened violence.

Describing unrest in US cities, Trump wrote “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The campaign is meant to pressure major advertisers to rethink their ad spend on Facebook over its moderation policies.

Numerous big corporations, including Unilever, The Hershey Co., The North Face, and Verizon, and over the past week have paused or halted their advertising with Facebook and other social-media platforms as a result.

The pressure appears to be working. Late on Friday, Zuckerberg announced the company would start to label “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its rules on, for example, hate speech or violent speech. It’s a significant shift, given the company had categorically refused to moderate politicians’ rhetoric.

Business Insider’s Tanya Dua also reported that Facebook’s ads team was trying to placate fleeing advertisers by saying the company was serious about addressing their concerns about hate speech and had committed to a third-party audit of its policies.

Advertising accounts for almost 100% of Facebook’s revenue, with the firm pulling in $17.4 billion in ad sales in the first three months of this year.

The NAACP, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League — the civil-rights groups behind the #StopHateforProfit campaign — called on Facebook to take stronger action.

“We have been down this road before with Facebook,” the NAACP wrote on its site. “They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”