Pepsi quietly joins Facebook ad boycott: sources

PepsiCo, Inc. quietly joins the growing number of companies that pull advertising dollars from Facebook, people close to the matter tell FOX Business.

Unlike companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia that have expressed frustration with Facebook’s policies involving allegedly racist content allowed on the site, PepsiCo has yet to make an official announcement. But people within the world’s second-largest food and beverage company say the boycott will run through July and August. These people described the move as a “global boycott” of Facebook ad placement.

The move could have broad implications given the size of PepsiCo (revenue of $ 67 billion last year) and the stature that produces some of Corporate America’s most iconic brands, including its namesake soda. PepsiCo is reported to spend up to $ 2.6 billion annually on marketing, promotion and advertising, and like most large companies, it now devotes an increasing share of its advertising budget to social media platforms like Facebook, considered one of the better ways. to reach an online audience.

MARK ZUCKERBERG LOSES $ 7B As businesses drop ads

In fact, some large companies, seeking to cut costs amid the pandemic and the COVID-19 recession, were weighing down on television advertising and diverting money to cheaper online venues.

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But that movement ran into the great social unrest that followed the death of May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody. The protests also galvanized Corporate America, with many large companies holding race relations seminars, while groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of People of Color (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for Social media to enhance police hate speech on their sites.


Facebook has long been criticized for failing to act aggressively to curb hate speech with its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, resisting claims to delete posts and tag certain types of comments as inappropriate. Criticism of Facebook’s policies escalated after President Trump issued a statement on social media amid the George Floyd riots that “when the looting begins, the shooting begins.”

Facebook allowed the comment to remain on its site, while rival Twitter took the step of marking the statement for violating its “glorify violence” policies.

In this Oct. 25, 2019 photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Paley Center in New York. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan)

In recent days, amid growing calls from activist groups to boycott Facebook, companies are beginning to withdraw their ads from their platform. Last week, the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein announced that they would join the boycott on Twitter. In the same statement, the company that works with other brands, including Adobe, HP, PayPal and BMW, encouraged customers and employees to join the boycott. PepsiCo is also one of the agency’s clients.


“We will join # StopHate4Profit and stop posting on @Facebook for the month of July. We are taking this action to protest the irresponsible spread of hate speech, racism and misleading voter information platform. We encourage customers already our own people to join us. “the company announced in a tweet. Goodby Silverstein is a subsidiary of the Omnicom Group, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.

It is unclear why PepsiCo decided not to issue a press release about the move. Company spokesman Jon Banner did not respond to phone calls and emails for comment. A Facebook press officer also did not return calls and emails for comment.

Customers fill cups with PepsiCo. Inc. brand drinks in the food court of a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in San Antonio, Texas on May 30, 2018. (Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

But people within the company say the ban is far-reaching and designed to make a statement about Facebook’s bottom line, as Facebook generates around $ 1 billion per quarter from ad revenue. During the first quarter of 2020, Facebook posted revenue of $ 17.7 billion.

Facebook shares fell more than 8% on Friday on news of the expanding boycott.

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Social media companies have increasingly juggled allowing freedom of speech with their responsibility to moderate content considered hate speech or news manufactured for political ends.

But Zuckerberg has taken a more laissez-faire approach than his Twitter counterpart Jack Dorsey.


At a 2018 Senate hearing, Zuckerberg told Congress: “I think there are a number of content areas that we need to do a better job of policing in our service.” More recently, he highlighted the need for a free and open platform: He told Fox News last month that he did not believe Facebook should be the “arbiter of truth.”

Zuckerberg said Friday that he will amend Facebook’s policy by adding tags to content “of journalistic interest” that violates his policies.


“Often, watching politicians’ speech is in the public interest, and just as the media will report what a politician says, we believe that people should be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” ​​Zuckerberg wrote in a blog. Send. “We will soon begin to tag some of the content we leave behind because it is considered newsworthy, so people can know when the case is.”