Unilever suspends advertising on Facebook and Twitter for the rest of 2020

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Unilever said on Friday it will suspend brand advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States “by the end of the year at least.”“Given our accountability framework and the polarized atmosphere in the United States, we have decided that from the end of the year at least, we will not broadcast brand advertising on Facebook, Instagram platforms and Twitter in the United States, ”the company said in a statement sent by email to Luis Di Como, executive vice president of Global Media. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will continuously monitor and review our current position if necessary. ”

Facebook and Twitter shares fell more than 7% after the announcement of Unilever.

The London-based packaged consumer goods giant has said it will continue to invest in US media by turning to other media. Unilever makes Breyers and Ben and Jerry’s ice creams, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Lipton and Pure Leaf teas, as well as consumer products such as Dove products.

“We are actively engaging with all digital platforms to make significant changes and impact trust and transparency,” also said the statement. “We have made substantial progress and recognize the efforts of our partners, but much remains to be done, particularly in the areas of division and hate speech during this polarized election period in the United States.”

In the past week since a group of organizations called on Facebook advertisers to suspend advertising spending in July, more than 90 marketers, including Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s, have announced plans to join, according to a running list of Sleeping Giants. The group of organizations includes the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

The organizations said they were asking Facebook to tighten up hate speech and misinformation more tightly by taking a number of measures, including creating a “separate moderation pipeline” for users who say they have been targeted because of their race or religion, or let advertisers see how often their ads have appeared near the content that was later removed for bad information or hate, and allow them to repay those advertisements.

Unilever spent more than $ 11.8 million in the U.S. this year on Facebook, according to marketing research firm Pathmatics.

Last year, Facebook generated $ 69.7 billion in advertising revenue worldwide from millions of advertisers. The platform said earlier this year that it has more than 8 million advertisers.

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment.

In a recent note to advertisers obtained by CNBC, the company’s vice president of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said that “boycotting in general is not the way for us to move forward together.”

“I also hope you now know that we are not making political changes related to the pressure on incomes,” she said in the note. “We set our policies based on principles rather than commercial interests. ”

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions for Twitter, responded to the change in Unilever in a statement.

“We have developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve public conversation, and as always, we are committed to amplifying the voices of under-represented communities and marginalized groups,” she said. “We are respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this period. ”

CNBC’s Julia Boorstin contributed to this report.

This story is developing

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