According to a report in BuzzFeed News last week, coffee giant Starbucks is currently evaluating whether it should leave Facebook entirely over hate speech concerns. Of course, that would entail pulling millions of dollars-worth of advertising from the platform, hurting Facebook’s bottom line — and publicly embarrassing it to boot.
A Facebook employee wrote to their colleagues to express concern about Starbuck’s stance, saying that the coffee company is “overwhelmed” by hate speech whenever it posts about social issues and its corporate values. However, while such a dramatic move would hurt Facebook in the short term, experts have expressed doubts that companies can ever truly stay away from the platform.
“We’ll see talk of it but Facebook’s user base, across all of its platforms, is huge for a reason. People use and spend a significant amount of time there. And because people are there, brands will need to continue showing up,” nonprofit senior strategist Eric Tsai said. “I think we may [see another boycott]. But ultimately advertisers will go where their audience is, and if they’re still spending time on Facebook platforms — where else will they spend?”
Unfortunately, boycotts like this one rarely go far enough to make a lasting impact. However, at least they help raise public awareness of Facebook’s many problems.
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