Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. shares tumbled Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it will halt all U.S. advertising on both platforms, fueling concerns that other major consumer brands may follow suit.
Unilever, which owns names like Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Axe shower gel and has an annual advertising budget of almost $8 billion, said it won’t advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram for the rest of the year because of the hate speech and polarized politics that users often post.
“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” Unilever said in an emailed statement. “We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”
Facebook shares extended a decline after the news. The stock had dropped 4.6% earlier Friday, then fell 8.3% to $216.08 at the close. Twitter shares dropped 7.4% to $29.05.
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg responded Friday to the growing criticism about misinformation on the site, announcing the company would label all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub, and expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech for in advertising.
Kurt Wagner, Thomas Buckley – Bloomberg – June 26, 2020.