This article was published on July 2, 2020

Zuck thinks boycotting advertisers will return to Facebook — and he could be right

Zuck thinks boycotting advertisers will return to Facebook — and he could be right

More than 500 advertisers are boycotting Facebook for not controlling hate speech. But Mark Zuckerberg is not worried. In an internal Facebook meeting, the company CEO said that “my guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

The Information got hold of a transcript of this meeting, where Zuckerberg addressed concerns of Facebook employees over major brands pausing ad spend on the social network.

Despite the pushback from advertisers, Zuckerberg seems adamant. In the internal meeting, he said, “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue.”

Advertising is the biggest revenue source for Facebook. Zuckerberg’s epic line, “Senator, we run ads,” is a testament to that. Last year, the company generated nearly $70 billion in revenue.

While major companies not running ads on Facebook is a worrisome outcome for the social network, it’s early days of the boycott.

A report from CNN suggests that while boycotting companies include some major names such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Target, they are not the biggest spenders on the platform. The report noted that only three out of 25 top spenders on Facebook have publically confirmed that they’re joining the boycott. These top 25 spenders account for nearly $2 billion or 3% of the revenue.

A lot of advertisers are joining the boycott for a month as of now, and have demanded more accountability from Facebook. The social network is the largest digital ad network in the world after Google, with more than 21% market share according to reports. So it might not be feasible for a lot of companies to pull out of Facebook’s ad network without having backup plans to market themselves on social media.

Zuckerberg may be right in saying that advertisers will return to the platform. But Facebook has to make sure it takes enough constructive steps to convince companies that it’s taking hate speech seriously. The ball is in their court.

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