|Bid||4,343.00 x 0|
|Ask||4,343.00 x 0|
|Day's range||4,336.00 - 4,396.00|
|52-week range||3,583.50 - 5,333.00|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.43|
|PE ratio (TTM)||17.22|
|Earnings date||23 Jul 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.45 (3.35%)|
|Ex-dividend date||14 May 2020|
|1y target est||45.13|
Facebook won't overcome the yawning advertiser revolt in response to hate content overnight, suggests a Goldman Sachs strategist that specializes in tech investing.
Warren Buffett buys stocks with good-quality underlying businesses when the valuations are reasonable. Here’s where I’d look.The post With £3k to invest, I’d buy shares like Warren Buffett does to get rich appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.
(Bloomberg) -- Software provider Kinaxis Inc. surged to a record high as it completed a deal for Rubikloud Technologies Inc. to boost its artificial intelligence capabilities.Ottawa-based Kinaxis, whose clients include Unilever NV and Lockheed Martin Corp., briefly passed $4 billion in market value for the first time Thursday amid a broad rally in Canadian technology stocks. The firm sells products that help companies manage supply chains, sales and operations.Its 103% rise this year makes it the fourth-best performing stock on the S&P/TSX Composite Index. The Covid-19 crisis has helped the business as global supply chains have been disrupted: Kinaxis has seen a 20% increase in user activity since January, Chief Executive Officer John Sicard said in an interview.“There’s never been a time where we’re more relevant, and especially under this particular crisis where all supply chains are experiencing a tremendous amount of volatility and disruption,” Sicard said, describing his company as “Canada’s best-kept secret.”The firm seized on Rubikloud to fill a gap in its product lineup. The target company, co-founded in 2013 by Kerry Liu, serves the enterprise retail industry, which Kinaxis did not.“Retail is not a vertical they’re currently in, but one that obviously, if you want to be a global leader in supply chain, you can’t ignore,” Liu said.Machine LearningThe Toronto startup has also made more advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning than Kinaxis has, Sicard said. These include helping clients predict the demand for an item so that they can determine appropriate pricing, according to Liu.The $60 million cash deal, announced June 15, had been in the making for a few months. Although the two companies had known each other for years, it was only earlier this year when talks started to heat up. At a dinner at Sicard’s home in Kanata, an Ottawa suburb, the two men found themselves “nearly finishing each other’s sentences,” Sicard said.Soon after, they decided to join forces.“In the world of acquisitions you usually find out it’s someone south of the border buying up Canadian technology. It’s not as common to see a Canadian company creating a union with another Canadian company,” he added.Liu will lead strategic innovation at the company. “I see myself continuing to be an evangelist in the space,” he said. “I think it’s as much about understanding and making sure that I’m a subject matter expert where available and then working closely on figuring out what do we need to do in the supply chain together now in this new world.”Rubikloud is Kinaxis’s second acquisition since going public in 2014. In February, it bought Indian firm Prana Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.The stock is well-liked by analysts with 10 buy ratings, two hold recommendations and no sells, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.(Adds more CEO comments in tenth paragraph and analyst data in last paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- Here’s a list of companies that are planning to halt spending on social media. Some have joined a boycott of Facebook Inc. after critics accused the social network of inadequately policing hateful and misleading content on its platform:Harley Davidson Inc. -- The motorcycle maker said in an email it was pausing Facebook ads in July “to stand in support of efforts to stop the spread of hateful content.”Pernod Ricard SA -- The French distiller of Jameson whiskey and Absolut Vodka, which spends more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.69 billion) on advertising annually, is boycotting Facebook and some other U.S. sites through July 31 and working with partners on an app to help victims of online abuse.Daimler AG -- The Mercedes-Benz maker is pausing its paid advertising on Facebook platforms in July, while adding that it expects to the relationship to resume because it’s confident the social-media company will take “necessary steps.”Molson Coors Beverage Co. -- The brewer is choosing to pause advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while it reviews its own standards and ways to protect the brands and guard against hate speech, Chief Marketing Officer Michelle St. Jacques said in an internal email.Constellation Brands -- The maker of Corona beer and Kim Crawford wines is pausing Facebook ads for the month of July.Dunkin’ Brands Group -- The donut chain is temporarily pausing its paid media on Facebook and Instagram, a spokesperson says, adding that it’s in discussions with Facebook about efforts to stop hate speech and thwart “the spread of “racist rhetoric and false information.”Lego A/S -- Stopping all advertising on social media for at least 30 days to review its standards and will “invest in other channels” during that time.The Body Shop -- The beauty chain says it’s halting paid activity on all Facebook channels and asking the social-media company to enhance and enforce its content-moderation policies.Starbucks Corp. -- Pausing advertising on all social media platforms. Will post on social media without paid promotion.Microsoft Corp. -- Paused global advertising spending on Facebook and Instagram because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter.Unilever Plc -- Halting advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. through Dec. 31.Volkswagen AG -- The ad stop on Facebook affects the direct ad accounts of the German manufacturer’s brands, including Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini. VW, its ad agencies and the Anti Defamation League will enter talks with Facebook over how to deal with hate speech, discrimination and false information, according to an emailed statement.Mars -- Starting in July, a pause on paid advertising globally across social-media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.Target Corp. -- Pausing ads on Facebook in July.Coca-Cola Co. -- Pausing advertising on all social media platforms.Clorox Co. -- Will stop advertising spending with Facebook through December.Conagra Brands Inc. -- Will stop advertising in U.S. on Facebook and Instagram through the rest of the year.Ford Motor Co. -- Halting U.S. social media for 30 days, won’t purchase social media ads for Bronco unveiling.Honda Motor Co. -- “For the month of July, Honda will withhold its advertising on Facebook and Instagram, choosing to stand with people united against hate and racism.” Acura, a Honda brand, said in a tweet that it was “choosing to stand with people united against hate and racism.”Hershey Co. -- Will halt spending on Facebook in July and cut its spend on the platform by a third for the remainder of the year, according to Business Insider.Diageo Plc -- Pausing paid advertising globally on major social media platforms beginning in July.PepsiCo Inc. -- Pulling ads on Facebook from July through August.Verizon Communications Inc. -- “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with we’ve done with YouTube and other partners,” said John Nitti, chief media officer for Verizon.SAP SE -- “We will suspend all paid advertisements across Facebook and Instagram until the company signals a significant, action-driven commitment to combatting the spread of hate speech and racism on its platforms.”Levi Strauss & Co. -- Pausing all paid Facebook and Instagram advertising globally and across all brands through July.Diamond Foundry Inc. -- Pulling all of advertising from Facebook, including Instagram, for the month of July.Patagonia Inc. -- Will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from Facebook.Viber Media Inc. -- The messaging service, owned by Japanese conglomerate Rakuten, plans to cut ties with the social network entirely, according to the Guardian.VF Corp. -- The North Face will pause ads on Facebook for the month of July. Vans, another VF brand, will also pull ad dollars from Facebook and Instagram next month, and said it will use the money to support Black communities through empowerment and education programs.REI -- “For 82 years, we have put people over profits. We’re pulling all Facebook/Instagram advertising for the month of July.”Upwork Inc. -- No Facebook advertising in July.Eileen Fisher Inc. -- Pulling ads from Facebook through July.Adidas AG -- Will stop ads on Facebook and Instagram internationally through July, according to Adweek.Puma SE -- Will stop all advertisements on Facebook and Instagram throughout July.Madewell Inc. -- Will pause ads on Facebook and Instagram through July.Pfizer Inc. -- Removing all advertising from Facebook and Instagram in July, calls on Facebook to heed the concerns of the StopHateForProfit boycott campaign “and take action.”Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. -- To pause Facebook advertising beginning July 1, according to an email.Chobani -- The Greek-yogurt company paused all paid social-media advertising.Peet’s Coffee -- Paused advertising on Facebook.Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. -- ”In support of the StopHateForProfit campaign, we have globally suspended our Facebook and Instagram activity, including advertising and non-paid content, until the end of July.”(Updates with Sony Interactive Entertainment)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
One long-time champion of conscious capitalism says way more needs to be done by business leaders on equality. It's just the right thing to do for all parties involved.
Marketing veteran and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk weighs in on the controversy swirling around Facebook.
(Bloomberg) -- Long before an uproar over online hate speech prompted hundreds of marketers to cut summer social media budgets, 2020 was turning out to be a dismal year for the global advertising industry.Total ad spending will fall 12% this year, compared with a 6.2% gain in 2019, according to GroupM, a division of advertising giant WPP Plc. That’s the biggest contraction in at least a decade. As the global pandemic spread around the world and consumer spending slowed to a trickle, many corporations targeted marketing as a fast, early way to cut costs.One ad agency executive said third-quarter buying would be down 20% to 30%. New deals were being struck with “force majeure” clauses that would allow advertisers to pull out if a second wave of the virus caused new shutdowns, said the executive, who requested anonymity discussing internal financial figures. In the U.S., hopes that the virus would slow by summer are fading as states that had begun opening up move to shut down again because of a jump in cases.Against this backdrop, advertisers are making another shift. Big companies around the world have said they’ll pause spending on social media, several of them singling out Facebook Inc., because they don’t want marketing messages appearing alongside the vitriol and disinformation. Many are heeding the call from a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to stop spending on Facebook for July to protest the company’s failure to police harmful content.The pause creates a way for many companies to take a public stance against hate while at the same time providing a concrete reason to trim marketing budgets or, in some cases, experiment with alternatives to traditional social media, such as Amazon.com Inc. or ByteDance’s TikTok. “While many brands were planning on pulling back ad spend anyways, a portion of Facebook-allocated dollars may end up on Snapchat, Pinterest, Amazon, Walmart, etc.,” Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a recent research note.Ad budgets are an indicator of corporate sentiment toward the world economy. Confidence and growth leads to bigger budgets and higher ad prices. Ad spending cratered in March and April as businesses shut and people stayed home to comply with lockdown orders.In interviews earlier in the year, ad execs were mostly hopeful that the pain would end once quarantines lifted and the economy rebounded. But behind the scenes, the picture was more bleak. Ad agencies, which choose how and when to spend the money companies entrust to them, have cut thousands of jobs. Ad executives who had spent money on spots meant to run during now-canceled sports events tried to recoup the money and find new outlets for it, according to people interviewed by Bloomberg who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.Despite the larger advertising pullback, a pause for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc. and YouTube creates an opening for ad upstarts on the digital side. Packaged foods company Conagra Brands Inc. pulled Facebook advertisements, redirecting the money to search and e-commerce ads, a category most likely to benefit online rivals Google and Amazon.Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, was one of the early brands to join the StopHateForProfit campaign. “The marketing dollars that would have been spent on Facebook will be spent on other channels, including possibly some Black-owned media outlets,” said Chris Miller, the activism manager at Ben & Jerry’s.Even if the boycotts gain momentum and persist for more than a month, Google and Facebook are still likely to benefit in the long-term from the disruption wrought by the pandemic. That’s because these companies offer advertisers the most flexible and direct way to reach consumers; spending can be paused or ramped up on a moment’s notice. The tech giants also benefit from the millions of small businesses that rely heavily on them for day-to-day business and don’t necessarily need to take a public stand on moral issues. “They may grab an even greater market share post COVID-19 than the strong gains we are currently projecting,” Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, said of Facebook and Google.The more traditional parts of the ad ecosystem, which still account for around half of advertising spending, are in a riskier position.For the TV industry, the advertising outlook for the rest of 2020 will depend on two still-unanswered questions. One is how much the pandemic-driven recession will accelerate cable-TV cord-cutting. With unemployment high, more people are expected to cancel their TV subscriptions as they tighten their household budgets. That would hurt viewership and the advertising dollars that go with it. The bigger audiences as a result of people being confined to their homes has already started to fall for just about all programming except news as more people venture outdoors again.The other big question is the return of sports. As long as professional and college football starts up again this fall, media companies like Fox Corp., Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co. and ViacomCBS will likely see a rebound in advertising revenue, analysts say. Brands spent over $4 billion on TV commercials during NFL games last year.Still, some big TV advertisers could be less willing to jump back this year at all. Carmakers like General Motors and Ford, for instance, have been among the top buyers of TV commercials. The global pandemic has disrupted their supply chains and raised doubts about consumers making big purchases like cars.Media companies and TV networks are now under pressure to make their contracts more flexible. TV networks typically prevent advertisers from pulling all of their money out on short notice. That frustrated many advertisers this spring when the pandemic first kicked off the recession. Now, advertisers are pushing for the right to pull more of their money out of a TV network with fewer days notice in case the coronavirus worsens the economic picture. They will, however, likely pay a higher price for that flexibility, according to one TV executive.That could send them back to the digital platforms, regardless of all the commitments to boycott Facebook.“Brands can stop TV ads but they can’t stop things being on social,” said Arron Shepherd, co-founder of global social media and influencer marketing agency Goat.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg took the unusual step on Friday of publicly broadcasting a weekly Q&A with employees. Over a live video feed, the CEO announced a series of updates to Facebook’s policies around hate speech -- the central topic fueling a growing boycott of Facebook advertising.But the new policies, like labeling posts from public figures who break its terms of service, didn’t assuage critics. The coalition of civil rights groups organizing the boycott called the announcement “a small number of small changes.” Demands like adding a high-ranking executive focused on civil rights, providing face-to-face customer service for hate speech victims and removing extra protections for elected leaders were still unmet.And, though it wasn’t officially included on their public list of proposed changes, the boycott organizers also have a more fundamental complaint: Zuckerberg has too much control.“Mark Zuckerberg has way too much power for a company of this size and reach,” said Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, one of the boycott’s organizers. “He is the one that is blocking progress in this moment.”Zuckerberg, who famously co-founded Facebook as a student before dropping out of Harvard University, has always been the most important person at the company, partly thanks to his out-sized control of its board. Recently, he has consolidated even more power. Since 2018 the founders of Facebook’s other properties, like Instagram and WhatsApp, have left the company, giving Zuckerberg more say over its product empire. And a number of board members -- including former Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann and former American Express Co. CEO Kenneth Chenault -- departed in the past two years, many of them over frustrations with Facebook’s corporate governance, according to the Wall Street Journal.For some, the lack of dissenting voices within and around Facebook is worrying. “This behemoth of a company, that’s operating more as a public utility, must be more accountable,” said NAACP CEO and boycott organizer Derrick Johnson.Zuckerberg is not the only important executive at the company. He has long relied on Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to run Facebook’s business and policy divisions, and he has a number of top executives who advise him. But unlike Twitter Inc., which goes out of its way to say that CEO Jack Dorsey does not make content decisions, Zuckerberg is clearly the final say on all things Facebook.“The way decisions escalate in Facebook are very much what you’d expect in any complex organization where there was a hierarchy,” Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for global affairs and communications, told reporters earlier this month. “For the most difficult decisions, there’s one ultimate decision maker, our CEO and Chair and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg.”As Facebook’s advertising boycott has grown to include household names like Starbucks Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever, the social network has fought back with an information campaign intended to demonstrate how much the company already does to fight hate online. Facebook has repeated a series of statistics in interviews and in emails to advertising partners, including that the company detects 90% of the hate speech it removes from the platform before any user even flags it.The company has also been touting a voting information campaign announced earlier this month with the goal of registering 4 million new U.S. voters before the 2020 presidential election. On Friday, Facebook said it would arrange a third-party audit of its quarterly report detailing how much content it takes down for rules violations.But so far, the piecemeal changes have done little to placate the company’s critics. “It’s unclear what the perfect solution is,” said Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Bernstein Securities. “There’s no kind of silver bullet here to fix it -- it’s a very broad, ambiguous problem.”On the larger issues, Facebook has shown little sign of relenting. Diminishing Zuckerberg’s control over the company is almost entirely out of the question. Repeated shareholder proposals to change Facebook’s voting structure or replace Zuckerberg as chairman have failed to clear the company’s board because Zuckerberg himself has voted against them -- the CEO has almost 60% of the vote thanks to a special class of shares unavailable to public investors. The arrangement has raised the question of who, specifically, Zuckerberg is accountable to.“This is where you have a runaway train,” the NAACP’s Johnson said on Monday on Bloomberg Television. “And that runaway train is causing harm to the public and it’s causing harm to our democracy.”The group calling for a Facebook boycott has several demands around removing hateful content that could prove difficult for the company to adhere to. Facebook said it’s already doing the best it can to find and remove posts promoting hate. In an interview on Bloomberg Television Monday, Clegg said Facebook does not profit off hate speech, and that it had an “industry-leading record” when it came to dealing with issues related to the “dark side of the internet.”But Clegg added: “I don’t want to pretend this is an easy straightforward task, that there is a switch we can flick and all hate speech suddenly disappears.”Hate has always been a problem for open platforms, in part because it’s difficult to define. In some cases, a post that clearly appears to be a rules violation to some people, is considered allowable by others. This dynamic played out late last month after a series of posts from President Trump struck many as a clear threat of violence. However, Zuckerberg said the posts were not actually a violation of Facebook’s policies. The posts remained up and untouched, even though Twitter flagged the same language.At Color of Change, Hatch understands that the social network, with more than 2 billion monthly users, probably cannot remove hate speech entirely, but she believes Facebook can do more within its current structure. “Certainly when things are flagged they need to be removed, and certainly when things are coming from the current president or an elected official, it needs to be removed,” Hatch said.Even though the boycott has trimmed billions off Facebook’s market capitalization, it’s not clear how much influence advertisers will have over the company’s processes. Some of the participating companies are heavy spenders, including Starbucks and Unilever, who together spent more than $30 million on Facebook ads during the first six months of the year, according to Pathmatics, a digital marketing analytics company. However, that’s a small amount compared with the almost $35 billion in sales Facebook is projected to report for the same six-month period.The vast majority of the company’s advertisers are small businesses, not name-brand marketers. Smaller companies rely on Facebook’s direct response ads, which drive specific outcomes like a website visit or an app install. Facebook’s top 100 advertisers accounted for roughly $4.2 billion in sales revenue last year, Pathmatics estimates, or just 6% of all Facebook revenue. So far, only a handful of the company’s 100 top-spending advertisers from 2019 are pulling money from Facebook ads.“As important as these advertisers are to Facebook, it would likely take a far broader advertising boycott over a longer period of time to materially impact Facebook’s ad revenue,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analysts wrote Monday in a note to investors. Facebook stock ended the day Monday up 2.1% despite the new additions to the ad holdout.Facebook will have more opportunities to try to alleviate concern this week in a series of meetings, including a round table discussion with advertisers and Facebook executives on Tuesday. Color of Change would also like to meet with Facebook this week -- but the group is holding out unless Zuckerberg also attends, a spokesperson said. It’s possible that the boycott, which is formally running through July, could extend further depending on how Facebook responds, Hatch said.“It’s definitely a live, dynamic campaign,” she said. “We’re hopeful we won’t have to make any further adjustments or asks. But that’s up to Facebook really.”(Updates with details on Color of Change meeting in 21st paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. banned the violent faction of the so-called “boogaloo” movement -- an anti-government group who believe in a coming civil war -- amid mounting pressure from the private sector and lawmakers to take a more aggressive stance on hate speech as protests over racial inequality have swept the country.“Today we are designating a violent U.S.-based anti-government network as a dangerous organization and banning it from our platform,” Facebook said in a blog post published Tuesday, as hundreds of accounts, groups and pages affiliated with the boogaloo movement were removed from Facebook and Instagram.Members of the movement, which Facebook described as encompassing “a range of anti-government activists who generally believe civil conflict in the U.S. is inevitable,” have recently been identified by government officials as “those responsible for several attacks over the past few months,” the post said. “These acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network.”On Monday, an Air Force sergeant who prosecutors have connected to the movement, Steven Carrillo, was indicted for allegedly killing a federal security guard in Oakland and later ambushing a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.Facebook’s announcement coincides with a wide-ranging advertiser boycott, in which hundreds of marketers, including well-known brands like Starbucks Corp. and Unilever, have sworn off Facebook advertising for the month of July in protest of the company’s policies. Organizers of the boycott have specifically called out “hate speech” as an area where Facebook needs to better police its services.The social media giant has also come under increasing criticism by lawmakers, who are pressuring the platform to take more active responsibility for problematic content and disinformation. In a Tuesday letter, three U.S. Senators, Mark Warner, Mazie Hirono and Bob Menendez, all of them Democrats, wrote to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg that the company’s “failure to address the hate spreading on its platform reveals significant gaps between Facebook’s professed commitment to racial justice and the company’s actions and business interests.”Facebook acted to ban violent boogaloo content on Tuesday under its policy against dangerous individuals and organizations -- removing 220 Facebook accounts, 28 Facebook pages, 95 Instagram accounts and 106 Facebook groups that were part of a boogaloo network. It also removed 400 additional groups and 100 pages that “hosted similar content as the violent network” but were not technically part of it, according to the post.The boogaloo movement, which Facebook dates back to 2012, contains internal divisions, including over “the goal of a civil conflict, racism and anti-Semitism, and whether to instigate violent conflict or be prepared to react when it occurs,” according to the blog post. Facebook banned the part of the movement that “actively seeks to commit violence” rather than the “loosely affiliated movement” as a whole, according to the post.In the first three months of the year, Facebook removed 6 million pieces of terrorist content -- including posts by white supremacists -- and 4 million pieces of content tied to hate groups, according to a Facebook representative who spoke on a call with reporters under the condition of anonymity due to safety concerns. Even so, the platform remains concerned about the other white supremacist content that it hasn’t yet found, the person said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. fielded criticism from a growing number of consumer companies over harmful content on its sites, with Starbucks Corp. and Diageo Plc pulling back on ad spending and General Motors Co. planning to review its social media marketing strategy.Starbucks and Diageo followed Unilever, Coca-Cola Co. and several other companies in saying they will cut ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to limit hate speech and posts that divide and misinform. Microsoft Corp., which was Facebook’s third-largest advertiser last year, has paused global ad spending on the site because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter. The list of companies taking similar action lengthened on Monday. Britvic Plc, which supplies a wide range of soft drinks, Patreon Inc. and The Clorox Co. all said they will stop advertising on Facebook while GM said it’s “reviewing and reinforcing” its marketing guidelines.Read more: How to Go Cold Turkey on $77 Billion of Facebook Ads: Alex WebbWhile a single advertiser can do little to hurt a company that generated $17.7 billion in revenue last quarter, the rising tally creates peer pressure on other brands, and civil rights groups say they expect more corporations to join a boycott. Combined with a pandemic-fueled economic slowdown, the threat to Facebook is deepening.“Given the amount of noise this is drawing, this will have significant impact to Facebook’s business,” Wedbush Securities analyst Bradley Gastwirth wrote in a research note. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control.”Shares gained 2.1% Monday to close at $220.64 in New York, after dropping 8.3% on Friday. Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would cease spending on Facebook properties this year, eliminating $56 billion in market value and shaving the net worth of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg by more than $7 billion.Facebook was already bracing for weakness in the second quarter, which ends this week. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner said in an April earnings call that he saw the “potential for an even more severe advertising industry contraction.”The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in spending. Facebook’s sales will rise 1% in the June period, followed by a 7% increase in the third quarter, analysts predict, by far the smallest quarterly growth increases since the company went public.Advertiser boycotts in July could cost Facebook more than $250 million in the third quarter if 25% of its top 100 buyers pause spending, and as much as $500 million if 50% of the top advertisers stop, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral.Zuckerberg announced changes Friday designed to appease critics, but the Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups calling for the boycott, called the amendments “small.”Some analysts have said the financial impact of recent exits will be limited, citing past advertiser revolts. Even so, this exodus is distinct in key ways, Bernstein Securities analyst Mark Shmulik wrote in a research note Saturday. There’s heightened pressure to publicly demonstrate that brands stand with civil-rights groups, he said.“The current environment is very different,” Shmulik wrote. “It is very visible who is and isn’t participating in the boycott where brand silence [equals] being complicit.”(Updates to add Microsoft withdrawl in second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Mark Zuckerberg has a problem, and he can fix it.Public furor over Facebook Inc.’s content policies has led some of its biggest advertisers to take action, with brands from Starbucks Corp. to Unilever, Coca-Cola Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. all vowing to pull ads from the social media giant’s namesake Facebook platform as well as Instagram for at least the month of July. The move was initially spurred by a campaign led by a coalition of civil rights groups — including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP — to force Facebook to do more to curb hate speech and language promoting violence. As the effort has gained traction, the numbers joining the boycott are increasing on a daily basis. On Monday afternoon alone, Best Buy Co. said it would pause its ad spending on Facebook, while Axios reported that Microsoft Corp. had suspended its advertising as well.Facebook has come in for criticism about its practices before and got past it largely by riding out the negative publicity while offering some incremental fixes. For example, Facebook already survived the Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal a couple years ago without serious long-term ramifications. And so, Zuckerberg may be tempted to hunker down this time as well.On a purely short-term financial basis, it would make sense. According to Pathmatics data, the top 50 advertisers on Facebook accounted for just 4% of the company’s sales last year. The vast majority of the rest comes from millions of small- and medium-sized businesses that are less affected by any public shaming from activists, and arguably more reliant on the exposure they get from buying ads on Facebook and Instagram. But a decision based purely on dollars and cents would be short-sighted in this instance, and bad for business.More and more, it’s becoming clear that the recent wave of protests over racial injustice isn’t a short-lived phenomenon, but one that appears to reflect a sea-change in perception and beliefs, and — like the MeToo movement before it — demands a change in behavior. The backlash that started at the grassroots level and moved on to corporate action is likely to move next to the political and regulatory sphere. Wouldn’t it be better for Facebook, already in the public glare, to bend and make its own meaningful policy changes instead of being forced to accept more punitive prescriptions and further potential damage to its reputation and business?Facebook is already facing increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have made proposals to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet companies from legal liability over user-generated content. For now, Republicans and the Department of Justice are focused on issues of conservative speech censorship, while Democrats have asked for the faster removal of misinformation and false claims inside political ads.The disparate points of emphasis likely means nothing will happen in Congress before the November election. However, if one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House next year, the probability of regulation will rise considerably.In the near term, the risk for Facebook may be greater from Europe than the U.S. The region’s authorities have identified antitrust as the more effective way to tackle Silicon Valley’s shortcomings than regulation, whose limits have been exposed by the General Data Protection Regulation that kicked in two years ago. GDPR has done little either to change the business practices of Google or Facebook, or to reduce their market power. And discussions about data or content are always questions of regulation, rather than antitrust.But antitrust is far more of an existential threat to Facebook than is regulation. That’s not simply because it could, in the most extreme circumstances, result in a breakup of the company. It’s because antitrust by definition seeks to tackle its business practices.Just last week, Germany’s highest civil court ruled that Facebook must stop logging browsing activity outside of its platforms without users’ explicit permission, and that such permission couldn’t be a condition of using its other services. Crucially, though, the decision was based not on data protection but antitrust laws. It said Facebook was abusing its market power to force users to accept the terms because it is the dominant social network. And the ruling fundamentally attacked the company’s business model, which is built on using such data to target ads effectively. An effort by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority is even less ambiguous: It’s carrying out a study into online platforms and digital advertising.While the U.K. is no longer a member of the European Union, the bloc’s regulators are following the findings of the study closely. After years of tackling Google, Facebook is now high on the European agenda. The two firms’ dominance of digital advertising is fueled by their low incremental costs. Tackle their business models, and you might resolve the harmful content problem, runs the argument. The EU plans new rules by the end of the year on content regulation and platform liability, while Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust and tech chief, is seeking new powers to break companies up. And the European Commission has more power than U.S. regulators: It can impose decisions unilaterally, which companies can then challenge in court. In the U.S., regulators generally need court approval first before any ruling is imposed.So, Zuckerberg needs to acknowledge the growing uproar is symptomatic of new and lasting societal, political and regulatory crosscurrents. While he has long been adamant it is not Facebook’s job to be the “arbiter of truth,” there is no better climate, in the face of pressure from advertisers, politicians and civil rights groups alike, to alter that stance — he can change tack without losing as much face.Serious changes are needed — from being more effective in taking down hate speech quickly to clamping down on false claims and disinformation from all users. Such moves would help the company get ahead of future actions from regulators. That would be wise as government regulation will likely be far more punitive – whether it be from the European Union or a potentially new American administration.Simply, Facebook’s traditional hands-off approach isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time for Zuckerberg to show some real leadership.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- From black tea to bottled water, European companies are taking a hard look at underperforming businesses at a time when investors’ profit expectations are already low because of the coronavirus pandemic.With economies reeling and Covid-19 still spreading across swathes of the globe, top executives are hiring investment bankers or launching internal reviews to sort through portfolios and sell unwanted businesses.“Investors are writing off 2020 completely but expect a tight, impeccable story for 2021 and 2022,” said Adam Young, the global head of capital markets at advisory firm Rothschild. “Those companies that don’t have one need to look for it pretty quickly.”Private equity firms from KKR & Co. to Blackstone Group Inc. are lining up bids for Unilever Plc’s tea unit, which could fetch more than 5 billion pounds ($6.2 billion), people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last week.Lipton TeaThe consumer-goods giant launched a strategic review of the unit in January, as the coronavirus was rampaging through China’s Hubei province. At the time, Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope described the business, which includes well-known brands like Lipton and PG Tips, as “a structural drag on Unilever’s growth.”In a similar vein, Nestle SA is considering a sale of its U.S. mass-market bottled water business, which includes the Poland Spring and Pure Life brands. The division globally had its worst performance in a decade last year and the North American unit, in particular, has seen competition from discount brands, as well as consumer resistance to plastic packaging.While Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider hasn’t hesitated to shed underperforming businesses since he took over in 2017, the pandemic could force more boards to follow suit.“If there’s a business in a company’s portfolio that isn’t performing in line with ambitions, the next two to three years aren’t a great environment to put it back together,” Young said.Time to ActIt’s not only big consumer companies looking to act. Total SA and Solvay SA are each pursuing sales of chemical businesses, people familiar with the plans have said. AMS AG may be positioning Osram Licht AG’s automotive unit for a sale once its takeover of the German lighting company is complete, according to a worker’s representative and an internal presentation.Such carveouts may pick up in the second half as companies seek to bolster balance sheets, as well as share prices, in the wake of the pandemic.Some companies are turning to investors to replenish cash. Budget airline EasyJet Plc raised about 419 million pounds in a share sale last week, while carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc tapped investors for around 150 million pounds.“The general thought among boards now is that inaction is not an option,” said Rich Mills, global head of divestments at Ernst & Young.PE Cash PileNearly a third of companies undertaking sales are willing to increase the assets on offer to get the proceeds they need to re-invest, said Mills. He co-authored the consulting firm’s 2020 report on global corporate divestments, which was based on online surveys of more than 1,000 executives before and after the pandemic’s onset.Many sales are attracting strong interest from private equity buyers sitting on an unprecedented $1.5 trillion in cash, the survey found.BP Plc agreed to sell its chemicals business to Ineos Group for $5 billion on Monday, in a move to transition away from being a traditional oil company and strengthen its finances as the industry faces increased pressure from the coronavirus crisis.The twin black swans of the virus and an energy crisis with collapsing oil prices created a supply and demand shock for businesses this year, said Romain Boscher, London-based chief investment officer at Fil Investment Management Ltd. which oversees $190 billion in equities globally.“Companies realize they have to brace for tough times, and that means you need a stronger balance sheet,” Boscher said. “Much more than asset sales, there is a necessity for them to revise strategy.”(Updates with details of BP disposal, investor quote from 15th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
In this article we will quickly re-cap the broker forecasts for Unilever (LON:ULVR). The Unilever share price has risen by 7.60% over the past month and it’s c...
The Unilever (LON:ULVR) share price is currently trading at 4417.325. But given the volatile market conditions and uncertain economic outlook, the question now...
(Bloomberg) -- A growing list of Facebook Inc.’s advertisers is set to halt spending on social media, undermining the company’s sales outlook and putting its stock price under further pressure.Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and disinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination.No single company can significantly dent growth at Facebook, which generated $17.7 billion in revenue last quarter alone. But a rising tally adds to pressure on other brands to follow suit, and when combined with a pandemic-fueled economic slowdown, the threat to Facebook deepens.“Given the amount of noise this is drawing, this will have significant impact to Facebook’s business,” Wedbush Securities analyst Bradley Gastwirth wrote in a research note. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control.”As more brands publicize plans to join boycotts or otherwise rein in ad spending, Facebook shares remain under pressure. The stock tumbled 8.3% Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would halt spending on Facebook properties this year, eliminating $56 billion in market value and shaving the net worth of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg by more than $7 billion. Shares closed at $216.08 Friday after reaching a record $242.24 the preceding Tuesday.Facebook was already bracing for weakness in the second quarter, which ends this week. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner noted in an April earnings call the “potential for an even more severe advertising industry contraction.”The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll-back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in marketing spending. Facebook will eke out 1% revenue growth in the June period, followed by a 7% increase in the third quarter, according to analysts’ current projections, by far the smallest quarterly growth increases since the company went public.Starbucks said Sunday that it would pause spending on all social media platforms while it carries out talks internally, with media partners and civil rights groups “in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech.”Trump PostsWhile some companies are targeting social media generally, including Twitter Inc., many are singling out Facebook specifically. Zuckerberg has been more reticent to put limits on discourse, notably controversial posts by U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that he doesn’t want Facebook to be an arbiter of what’s true.That’s prompted a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to urge advertisers to stop spending on Facebook-owned platforms for July to protest the company’s policies.Zuckerberg responded Friday to the growing criticism, saying that Facebook would label all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub. The social network also expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech for advertising.“We understand people want to put pressure on Facebook to do more,” Facebook vice president Nick Clegg said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources. “That’s why we made those additional announcements in Friday. That’s why we’ll continue to redouble our efforts, because, you know, we have a zero tolerance approach to hate speech.”The Anti-Defamation League called the changes “small.”The stampede of advertisers, combined with lobbying from civil rights groups, leaves Zuckerberg in a bind. He could take further steps to curtail harmful content, but that risks alienating free-speech advocates and supporters of Trump who have argued that Facebook is censoring political discourse and suppressing conservative voices.Distinct ExodusHe could also stand pat on a bet that this advertising pause will be short-lived, as have social media ad boycotts in the past. But this exodus as distinct, Bernstein Securities analyst Mark Shmulik wrote in a research note Saturday. There’s heightened pressure to publicly demonstrate that brands stand with civil rights groups, he said. “The current environment is very different,” Shmulik wrote. “It is very visible who is and isn’t participating in the boycott where brand silence [equals] being complicit.”Will Zuckerberg budge? While major brands like Unilever and Coca-Cola have garnered most of the headlines, the vast majority of Facebook’s 8 million advertisers are small businesses, many of which rely heavily on Facebook advertising for sales. Some in the ad industry don’t believe that these businesses, particularly those in commerce and direct-to-consumer sales, can actually afford to halt spending.“Pulling off for a whole month would really hurt their business,” Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley said earlier this week. “It’s a lot to ask for.”In its outreach to advertisers last week, Facebook has said it doesn’t intend to make decisions based on sales. “We have been consistent that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” Facebook said on Wednesday in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”Whatever additional moves Facebook makes, there’s reason to believe the departure of advertisers won’t end soon. “Advertisers who have seen their own ads published against hateful, horrible content on Facebook -- racist, anti-Semitic poison -- they are finally saying ‘enough’,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook with advertisers. I can tell you more are coming.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Mark Zuckerberg announced measures to tackle hate speech and voter suppression.
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(Bloomberg) -- Critics of Facebook Inc. who have assailed the social network as failing to adequately police hateful and misleading content on its service found a powerful ally Friday: Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would stop spending money with Facebook’s properties this year.The decision by the maker of major consumer goods like Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise to follow other brands in an advertising boycott, prompted a rare reaction from Facebook’s investors. Shares plunged 8.3% on the news, eliminating $56 billion in market value. Unilever’s pledge applies immediate pressure on other big companies and presents a risk to Facebook’s dominant business. Later Friday, Coca-Cola Co. said it would pause ads on all social media platforms for at least 30 days, while Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit, Hershey Co. and several smaller brands said they would join the boycott.Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg attempted to address advertiser concerns in a live question-and-answer session with employees Friday, announcing a handful of minor changes to the company’s ad and content policies. But his remarks didn’t go far enough for critics.The Anti-Defamation League, among the collection of civil rights groups that organized the July ad boycott, called the changes announced by Zuckerberg “small.”“We have been down this road before with Facebook,” the group said in a statement. “They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter Inc. and Snap Inc. in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral. Facebook, of these companies, is also the most susceptible to regulatory risk, and is already facing antitrust investigations from the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.“You can continuously see the challenge of them trying to have these kinds of broad principles around free expression and stopping harm, and then that mixing with the realpolitik of trying to keep the executive branch happy, which happens to have a half dozen investigations open of Silicon Valley companies for a variety of reasons,” Alex Stamos, a former Facebook security executive, said this week at the virtual Collision Conference.The regulatory threats have historically seemed to loom larger for Facebook than advertiser concerns. The company accounts for about 23% of the entire U.S. digital advertising market, according to EMarketer. And it dominates social media with more than 3 billion users of all its properties.For years, Facebook has weathered scandals with its business intact and growing rapidly. The company’s advertising revenue gained 27% in 2019 to more than $69.7 billion despite threats of regulation, previous calls for advertising boycotts and a user movement encouraging people around the world to delete their accounts. But just four months before the U.S. election, and amid nationwide protests about race and policing in society, Facebook finds itself at the cultural center of a divided country, balancing regulatory pressures with societal ones.Facebook already warned that advertisers are spending less as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, businesses are under pressure to cut costs and respond to the public’s concerns about racial injustice in society. When the civil rights groups organized the ad boycott to push Facebook to better combat hate speech, companies saw a way to make a political statement at an economically convenient time.“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,” Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP said in a statement last week.Facebook has tried to quell the boycott behind the scenes, and has reached out to advertisers to push back on the narrative that it doesn’t care about fighting hate and misinformation. In an email to advertising partners, the company highlighted the software it uses to detect hate speech, which has improved over the years, and its efforts to circulate verified information around the elections with a new informational hub and a goal to register 4 million new voters.During the Q&A with employees, Zuckerberg went a step further. He said the company will put a link to the voting hub on all posts related to voting, and will also start marking posts that violate Facebook’s rules, although the posts will remain up if they’re newsworthy.Those rules give Facebook cover to take an action without making a decision on the nature of the content. For instance, several weeks ago when Trump tweeted that mail-in voting would lead to fraud, Twitter labeled the post to fact-check it. Zuckerberg left the same post alone on Facebook. But now, if all voting-related posts have a context link on them, the CEO won’t have to make controversial decisions about their accuracy.Facebook, which already prohibits advertising that discriminates, also sharpened those policies Friday with a clause saying no ads will be allowed if they label another demographic as dangerous, or if they portray immigrants, migrant groups or refugees as inferior and worthy of disgust. “There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today,” Zuckerberg said.In a follow-up email to advertisers late Friday, Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions, summarized the announcements Zuckerberg made and outlined many of the steps the company already takes to find and remove hate speech. Everson added that Facebook will seek an audit for its quarterly report outlining how it enforces its community standards.“Hate is an insidious feature of every society, and that is reflected across all platforms,” she wrote. “But we also believe in our responsibility to help change the trajectory of hate speech -- and while we know we can’t eradicate it, we will continue to do everything in our power to shatter its presence on our platform.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. shares tumbled Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it will halt all U.S. advertising on both platforms, fueling concerns that other major consumer brands may follow suit.Unilever, which owns names like Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Axe shower gel and has an annual advertising budget of almost $8 billion, said it won’t advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram for the rest of the year because of the hate speech and polarized politics that users often post.“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society,” Unilever said in an emailed statement. “We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”Facebook shares extended a decline after the news. The stock had dropped 4.6% earlier Friday, then fell 8.3% to $216.08 at the close. Twitter shares dropped 7.4% to $29.05.Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg responded Friday to the growing criticism about misinformation on the site, announcing the company would label all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub, and expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech for in advertising.Unilever’s decision follows similar moves by a growing list of high-profile consumer companies, including outdoor gear company Patagonia and Verizon Communications Inc., which claim that technology platforms -- particularly Facebook -- profit off user posts that promote hate and spread misinformation.A consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, have called on advertisers to stop spending on Facebook-owned platforms for the month of July to protest the company’s policies. Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit said Friday that it would join the boycott and halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram in July. Unilever’s commitment extends that pledge through 2020, and adds rival social network Twitter to the mix, which has also struggled to deal with offensive posts but has recently taken a more active stance than Facebook in some cases related to U.S. President Donald Trump.More brands joined the fray as the day wore on. Coca-Cola Co. said it will pause paid advertising on all social media for at least 30 days. Hershey Co. intends to halt Facebook spending in July, according to Business Insider.So far, the boycott organizers say that more than 100 companies are participating.“We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement, adding that the company has banned 250 White supremacist organizations from its platforms. “We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM, and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”Facebook has had a rocky relationship with civil rights groups for years, which have fought to diversify Facebook’s board of directors, accused the company of enabling voter suppression tactics, and took issue with Facebook’s decision to name the Daily Caller, a right-wing news outlet with ties to white nationalism, as one of its formal fact-checking partners in 2019.Frustrations were renewed after Zuckerberg said that a series of posts from Trump about race-related protests were not a violation of the company’s rules. In one last month, Trump said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a post that was flagged on Twitter as a violation but not on Facebook. A number of unhappy Facebook employees staged a walkout to protest the decision.As the boycott has grown over the past week, Facebook has been reaching out to advertisers to share details about the company’s existing policies, and its efforts to automate the flagging and removal of hate speech on its service. It’s also been highlighting its work to increase voter registration, and on Friday Zuckerberg said the company would now prohibit ads that target certain races or ethnic groups as dangerous. In an email to marketers this week, the company said that it bases its policies on principles, not business interests.Twitter, which has not been the target of the formal ad boycott but has faced similar criticisms as Facebook over the years, says that Unilever reached out to alert the company of its decision before making the announcement publicly.“Our mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely,” said Sarah Personette, Twitter’s vice president of global client solutions, in a statement. “We are respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”(Updates with Coca-Cola and Hershey in eighth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. will begin labeling all posts that include information about voting with a link encouraging users to get facts from the company’s new voting hub, and expanded its prohibition on hate speech in advertising.The new policy on voting announced Friday by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg means Facebook will label future posts from U.S President Donald Trump, and everyone else, about mail-in ballots or other voting-related issues, regardless of whether they contain misleading information. Facebook will funnel users to a voting information hub meant to provide facts from state authorities. Users will also be able to register to vote using this hub. Facebook has set a goal of helping register 4 million new voters before the 2020 U.S. election in November.“There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today,” Zuckerberg said.The social network has been criticized in recent weeks for allowing false or misleading voting information, including posts from Trump about mail-in ballots that Twitter Inc. flagged as inaccurate. Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to remove posts from elected officials, but would rather let users to make up their minds about the content.A number of civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, are among those unhappy with Facebook’s history of allowing posts they say encourage voter suppression. Those groups have organized a Facebook advertising boycott for the month of July, and a number of well-known consumer brands are participating, including outdoor gear company Patagonia, Verizon Communications Inc. and Unilever.Facebook will now prohibit ads that paint anyone from a certain race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation as dangerous. The company will expand those policies to better protect immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads that say these groups of people are inferior.The company will also label posts that it keeps up even though they violate policies, if they come from a newsworthy source, such as the president. “We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society -- but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” Zuckerberg said.(Updates with hate speech policy in the sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed its new policy would have meant attaching a link on voting information to U.S. President Donald Trump's post last month about mail-in ballots. Rival Twitter <TWTR.N> had affixed a fact-checking label to that post. Facebook has drawn heat from employees and lawmakers in recent weeks over its decisions not to act on inflammatory posts by the president.