You’ve probably already heard of the #deletefacebook campaign or something like it. This particular campaign started in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, voicing the widespread concern about the lack of privacy and transparency in the way Facebook tracks and uses people’s data.
This time, people are choosing to drop Facebook largely because of hate speech, and the many accusations that Facebook isn’t doing enough to combat it.
Although Facebook, along with social media in general, has seen its fair share of controversies, people are starting to get fed up with the frequency of them. As a result, businesses are pulling their advertising spend and campaigns from the platform as part of a wider Facebook boycott, and some have even chosen to close their accounts entirely.
In fact, many businesses are choosing to create social networks of their own that actually care about their members.
And here’s why:
Why brands are choosing to boycott Facebook
Many forward-thinking businesses have been rethinking how they use Facebook for quite some time already. Some have even been concerned that Facebook is doing more harm to their business than good. Common pitfalls include:
- Hate speech: Facebook has long been criticised for turning a blind eye on hate speech. And, with 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion revenue coming from advertising which includes promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and violence, it’s no wonder the #stophateforprofit campaign is rapidly picking up steam.
- Privacy fears: Let’s face it, Facebook has a shocking track record when it comes to privacy. 2018’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, which involved the collection and misappropriation of personal information belonging to 87 million users without their knowledge, is just one of many examples. Although Europe’s GDPR law has been keeping a close eye on the platform, Facebook is still racking up fines up to billions of dollars for its compliance failures.
- Fake news: Facebook may not be alone when it comes to the dissemination of fake news, but it’s by far the worst perpetrator. Although they may be trying to get a handle on it, the size of the platform means it’s proving difficult to get rid of the volume of dangerous misinformation campaigns ranging from fake coronavirus news to anti-vaccination ‘studies’. This is creating a huge distrust in the platform and creates unnecessary fear and panic amongst its users.
These are just a few of the many reasons that businesses are choosing to boycott Facebook. Let’s also not forget that organic reach on Facebook is at an all-time low and pretty much dead these days. It’s also a major reason why businesses have to pour money into their advertising services instead.
The brands pressing the pause button
The latest Facebook boycott, #stophateforprofit, picked up speed last weekend. Some of the world’s biggest companies, such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Unilever have now pulled their ads. Many companies have also pulled their ads from YouTube, Twitter, and other networks.
Here’s some of the latest to join the trend, and their reasons why:
- Starbucks, like hundreds of other brands, recently paused advertising on all major social networks in response to the rise of ads supporting hate speech. Being a brand that welcomes inclusive communities both online and offline, they felt continuing to advertise on these networks no longer aligned with their brand values.
- Ben and Jerry’s also paused their advertising campaigns, calling on Facebook to take stronger action against people and organisations using the platform to suppress voters and create a divide. The group has even gone so far as to publish a long set of recommendations Facebook should take to moderate the platform.
- Verizon, one of the biggest investors in Facebook ads, also followed suit after one of its ads were found appearing next to a video published by a conspiracy group which promotes violence and antisemitic rhetoric.
- Microsoft withdrew its advertising dollars from Facebook citing not the platform’s policies, but the way its algorithms had a habit of showing up next to content which conflicts with their brand values. In particular, the Redmond giant cited examples of hate speech, terrorism, and pornographic content.
- Dashlane, a cybersecurity company, has committed to keeping its ads off Facebook through July and likely beyond. They claimed the platform isn’t taking responsibility for its role in the surveillance economy or doing enough to protect people’s right to privacy.
Could this be the beginning of the end of mainstream social media? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – it’s time for businesses to try something new. After all, who wants to risk going down with a sinking ship?
What’s the alternative, and how can you build something better?
There’s no denying it. Social media has evolved, and we’re now seeing a shift away from social media giants to niche community platforms that aren’t all about commoditising human relationships. You too can reclaim control and build something better by creating your own social network.
- Create a positive environment: Fighting hate speech, trolling, and spam on the main networks often feels like a losing battle. It’s much easier to create a positive environment and a safe space where like-minded people can come together to share passions and create positive connections with others.
- Invest in long-term customer relationships: For many businesses, Facebook is all about short-term goals. After all, you never know when the next big algorithm update or controversy is going to bring all your hard work crashing down. If you have your own platform, you can cut out the third parties, own the experience, and build long-term relationships with your audience instead.
- Prioritise customer retention over acquisition: The most important customers are the ones you already have. With your own community platform, you have the opportunity to build stronger relationships, drive engagement, and turn loyal customers into raving fans who will happily spread the word about your business.
- Conquer the market by owning your niche: All the digital noise on Facebook makes it difficult to grab the attention of your audience. Whether it’s ads or cat memes, the wave of content on peoples newsfeeds makes it difficult for your content to drive traction. Having your own niche community platform helps your business remain front and centre with your audience. You’re the expert, and you’re in control of the experience you want to create – helping you to conquer the market and be the go-to for your niche.
The Facebook boycott is just another step forward in the transition that many businesses are making away from larger social networks and towards their own niche communities. At Disciple, we want to help you build something better too. We’re part of a movement that’s determined to accelerate the rise of the passion economy, and we’d love to have you on board.