An employee straightens a row of Dove shampoo bottles, a product of Anglo-Dutch company Unilever.
Tengku Bahar | AFP | Getty Images
Unilever on Friday said it would be pausing brand advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. “through at least the end of the year.”
“Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary.”
Facebook shares fell more than 6% and Twitter shares fell as much as 7% after Unilever made the announcement.
The consumer packaged goods giant said it would maintain its planned media investment in the U.S. by shifting to other media.
“We are actively engaging with all digital platforms to make meaningful change and impact trust and transparency,” the statement also says. “We have made substantial progress, and we acknowledge the efforts of our partners, but there is much more to be done, especially in the areas of divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.”
In the week since a group of organizations called on Facebook advertisers to pause their ad spend during the month of July, more than 90 marketers including Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s have announced their intention to join, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants. The group of organizations includes the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.
The organizations said they’re asking Facebook to more stringently police hate speech and disinformation by taking a number of actions, including creating a “separate moderation pipeline” for users who say they’ve been targeted because of their race or religion, or to let advertisers see how frequently their ads appeared near to content that was later removed for misinformation or hate, and allow them refunds for those advertisements.
Unilever spent more than $11.8 million in the U.S. so far this year on Facebook, according to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics.
Last year, Facebook brought in $69.7 billion in ad revenue globally through its millions of advertisers. The platform said earlier this year it has more than 8 million advertisers.