Zuckerberg said the boycott is more of a PR issue than one that will hurt the social-media giant’s bottom line, according to a report Wednesday by The Information, which cited a transcript of remarks Zuckerberg gave at an employees-only virtual town hall Friday.
The Facebook founder was quoted as saying: “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough… we’re not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue.”
The social network has confirmed they are accurate and also announced a fresh development: its chief executive is to meet the organisers of the boycott – Stop Hate for Profit.
Campaigners accuse the tech firm of being too slow and reluctant to remove some hateful content, with Sony Playstation one the latest brands to join the boycott, which now numbers over 1000 major brands including Coca Cola, Lego and Unilever.
“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,” he said, according to The Information.
While generating headlines, the boycott involves only a tiny fraction of Facebook’s roughly 8 million advertisers. The company generates almost all of its revenue from ads.
The #StopHateForProfit campaign was started by civil rights groups last month, calling for major companies to stop their Facebook ad spending for July to protest the company’s inability to rein in hate speech, threats of violence and misinformation on its platform.
A portion of Friday’s virtual town hall was streamed to the public from Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, where he announced some policy changes to crack down on hateful content and voting misinformation. But he was reportedly more blunt in private remarks to employees, saying Facebook would not cave to pressure.
“You know, we don’t technically set our policies because of any pressure that people apply to us,” he said, according to The Information. “And, in fact, 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, and that sets up bad long-term incentives for others to do that [to you] as well.”