Should Your Company Boycott Facebook?

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Lauren Parker, President + CEO, FrazierHeiby

This is a question many of our clients have asked over the past week. 

Should Your Company Boycott FacebookInitiated by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the NAACP, the #StopHateForProfit campaign encourages brands and organizations to pull their Facebook ad spend in response to the social media platform’s “repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.” REI, Patagonia and Upwork are just some of the major brands that have publicly joined the boycott.

If your organization is questioning whether or not you should pull or pause Facebook spending, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Does taking a stand align with our corporate purpose? Consider your values and organizational purpose, if it’s been articulated. For advocacy brands like REI that have a long history of speaking (and acting) out on issues from climate change to gun control, boycotting Facebook for its inaction around misinformation and policies on hate speech makes sense and feels authentic. 
  • Does the value in taking a stand outweigh the impact on performance? Paid social campaigns build momentum over time, especially when paired with retargeting. Pausing an ad campaign will inevitably impact long-term performance. However, taking a stand may reap benefits when it comes to brand reputation, particularly among younger demographics who prefer a strong stance from a brand rather than no stance at all. 
  • Are those dollars better spent elsewhere? If, ultimately, it does make sense for your organization to participate in the #StopHateForProfit campaign, thoughtfully consider where you can reallocate those dollars. Instead of simply pivoting to another social platform, explore making a contribution to an organization fighting for social and racial justice. 

While it’s becoming far more common for brands to take a stand on rising issues in public discourse, it’s important that those proclamations be authentic and backed by substance — not just lip service. 


About the Author: Lauren Parker is president + CEO of FrazierHeiby, a marketing and communications firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Lauren has more than a decade of experience counseling clients through crisis and reputation management, brand positioning, social media engagement, employee relations and digital communications strategy. You can find her on Twitter at @ImLaurenParker or connect by email at lauren@FHcommunicate.com.

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