Facebook Just Lost $7.2 Billion Due to Ad Boycott
Dozens of companies have pulled out millions of dollars-worth of ads from Facebook’s network in an effort to pressure the platform to crack down on misinformation and hate speech.
Based on a recent tally by The New York Times, some of the biggest brands that are taking a timeout from Facebook include Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Verizon.
These companies have joined a chorus of current and former Facebook employees who are calling out Facebook’s ‘lackluster’ policy against fake news and hate speech.
Together, the collective boycott stance taken by these brands have pulled down shares of the social media titan by 8.3 percent on Friday, effectively shaving off about $56 billion from Facebook’s market value.
Zuckerberg No Longer Third-Richest in the World
The ad boycott’s impact on Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is shocking and instantaneous.
According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg has lost at least $7.2 billion amid the PR nightmare which his company is currently grappling with.
This has pushed the Facebook CEO’s total net worth down to $82.3 billion. In effect, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index reports that Zuckerberg is no longer the world’s third-richest man. He has been overtaken by Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault, who now joins Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the wealthiest trio in the world.
Expanded Definition of ‘Prohibited Hate Speech’
Despite the staggering impact of the ad boycott on Facebook, a company that gets 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, Zuckerberg does not appear to be keen on yielding to the pressure of shifting the company’s policy regarding possible misinformation on the site.
If we’re counting small victories, though, the company announced several new guidelines on Friday.
For one, the site will now take an expanded definition of ‘hate speech,’ which helps site administrators determine whether a post violates community standards. Facebook has added a new clause to the definition, saying no ads will be allowed to run on the platform if they label any demographic as dangerous.
Furthermore, the platform said it will attach all election-related posts with links encouraging users to check out its voter information hub.
"I'm optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting," Zuckerberg told USA Today. "I'm committed to making sure Facebook is a force for good on this journey."