Mark Zuckerberg has brushed off staff concerns of an ongoing advertising boycott at Facebook, saying it will have very little impact on the business.
The Facebook chief executive told employees at an internal meeting last week that the move only affects a “small” chunk of its revenue, adding: “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
His comments, first reported by the Information, come as Zuckerberg is set to meet with organisers of the boycott next week.
More than 400 advertisers, including giants such as Unilever, Coca-cola and Adidas, began pulling their ads from Facebook and its family of platforms yesterday in protest at hate speech on the site. The pledges to halt ad spending on Facebook span from at least one to six months.
However it is unlikely to have a big financial impact on Facebook. Research collated by Morningstar showed the top 100 brands on Facebook in 2019 likely brought in only six per cent of Facebook’s total $70bn in annual revenue.
News of the boycott wiped $56bn from Facebook’s market value after an eight per cent drop in its stock last Friday, but its shares have since largely recovered.
Zuckerberg told staff: “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue…
“Usually I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you’re capitulating.”
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed his remarks, and added in a statement: “We take these matters very seriously and respect the feedback from our partners. We’re making real progress keeping hate speech off our platform, and we don’t benefit from this kind of content. But as we’ve said, we make policy changes based on principles, not revenue pressures.”