Unilever halts Facebook and Twitter advertising for the rest of 2020 due to the ‘polarized atmosphere’ in the US.

An employee straightens a row of bottles of Dove shampoo, a product of the Anglo-Dutch company Unilever.

Tengku Bahar | AFP | fake pictures

Unilever said Friday it would pause advertising for the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States “at least until the end of the year.”

“Given our Accountability Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the US, we have decided that from now until at least the end of the year, we will not post brand advertising on the social media news delivery platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on The USA.” The company said in an email statement that it attributed Luis Di Como, the company’s Global Media EVP. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms right now would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring on-going and reviewing our current position if necessary.”

Facebook shares fell more than 6% and Twitter shares fell as much as 7% after Unilever made the announcement.

The packaged consumer goods giant said it would keep its planned media investment in the United States by switching to other media.

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

In the week since a group of organizations called on Facebook advertisers to stop their ad spending during the month of July, more than 90 vendors, including Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s, announced their intention to join. , according to an updated 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 are asking Facebook to more tightly control hate speech and disinformation by taking a series of actions, including creating a “separate moderation channel” for users who say they have been targeted for their race. or religion, or to allow advertisers see how often their ads appeared close to content that was later removed for misinformation or hate, and allow them refunds for those ads.

Unilever spent more than $ 11.8 million in the United States so far this year on Facebook, according to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics.

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

Facebook did not immediately respond to 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 overall is not the way to move forward together.”

“I also really hope you know now that we are not making any policy changes related to the pressure of earnings,” he said in the memo. “We establish our policies based on principles rather than commercial interests.”