Entertainment giant Disney has cut its spending on Facebook ads radically, as the company quietly agrees that the social network must do more to clean up the speech on its platform amid the #StopHateforProfit boycotts.
Sources familiar with the matter briefed the Wall Street Journal that Disney had slashed spending despite having been the top advertiser on the platform through the first half of the year with a total spend of around $210 million just promoting its new Disney+ streaming service, according to estimates.
It follows a prominent call from a coalition of major civil rights groups for major advertisers to boycott Facebook’s ad services for the month of July. Some advertisers have said they will cut spend for longer.
#StopHateforProfit wants the platform to accept a list of demands, including the establishment of permanent civil rights infrastructure and expertise right at the top of the organisation, frequent independent auditing into hate appearing on the platform and refunds to brands that appear next to hate.
Like many of the brands that have publicly affiliated with the movement, Disney is concerned that Facebook isn’t enforcing policies around unacceptable speech and content.
However, a recent story from Axios reporting on the plan for major media firms to work toward a shared definition of hate speech indicates that this problem requires so much more thought than just tweaking technical systems. These problems are philosophical, jurisprudential, and these conversations should all have taken place a long time ago.
It’s interesting that Disney’s cut in spend has not followed a very public denunciation, as many of the brands that have taken part have done. It reflects a deepening of the concern in which a partner resists throwing Facebook under the bus for expediency, instead pressing the company.
It may also reflect the job that Facebook ads do for Disney, which is now playing a very different game with the launch of its Disney+ service, one dependent on profitable acquisition and retention. But the fact that this story exists also hints at frustration with the platform: that the public pressure might be necessary for change to happen.
Sourced from the Wall Street Journal, WARC, Axios