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Unilever To Resume Ads On Facebook


Image via Unilever

Earlier this year Facebook got caught up in an ad boycott after the Stop Hate for Profit campaign attacked the social media giant for its handling of racism, disinformation and hate on its platform. The campaign wants social media companies to be held accountable for hate on their platforms and prioritize people over profit.


The campaign attracted more than 1,200 businesses and non-profits to join the boycott, including notable companies such as Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, The North Face, Eddie Bauer, REI and Upwork.


On June 26 Unilever announced it would stop advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. for the rest of the year as a result of the "polarized atmosphere," adding that "continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society."


With shares of Facebook down 7% on the news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg almost immediately responded with a post about the new policies Facebook would implement in response to the growing boycott.

"I'm committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues, because I believe we can make more progress when we hear each other," Zuckerberg wrote. "But I also stand against hate, or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we're committed to removing that no matter where it comes from."


As the year comes to an end, Unilever announced it will resume advertising on Facebook just six months after announcing it would suspend advertising. Unilever noted it did not sign on to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign but nonetheless announced its decision to pull ads at the same time.


"As we approach the end of our planned pause period, we have been encouraged by the platforms' new commitments and reporting to monitor progress," Unilever said. "We therefore plan to end our pause in the US starting in January."


Unilever joins companies such as The North Face, Heineken and The Coca-Cola Company in returning to Facebook.


While the campaign pushed Facebook to make changes, it doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on the company's performance as Facebook said revenue for the first three weeks of July grew at approximately the same 10% annual rate as it did in the second quarter.


As for the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, their website has only been updated twice since the end of July. A post following July's ad pause campaign shows the group is still not satisfied though.


"This movement will not go away until Facebook makes the reasonable changes that society wants," the post reads. "The ad pause in July was not a full campaign – it was a warning shot across Facebook's bow."


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