Recently, major brands such as Coca-Cola®, Starbucks®, Adidas®, and other big names have been boycotting Facebook advertising in an effort to stand against hate speech. While Facebook is legally protected from what their users post on the platform, these advertisers are looking to hit Facebook where it hurts: their ad revenue. The goal for this boycott is to have Facebook crack down on hate speech and make the platform a safe place for all.
Kasasa runs Facebook advertising on behalf of 120 community financial institutions through our marketing program, and some of our clients have asked whether we will or should stop running their Facebook ads. At this time, we recommend that clients currently running marketing on Facebook through our program continue, and we still recommend it as an effective marketing channel. Please read on for our reasoning.
Facebook’s track record with removing hate speech
The boycott includes a concern from some companies that hate speech posts, or other discriminatory/racist posts, may show up next to their brands’ posts, thereby diminishing the brands’ reputation. While an understandable concern, it may be coming from a misinformed place.
There is a bit of misconception when it comes to Facebook’s policies and actions around moderating their content and removing offensive posts. Facebook does have policies in place to make their platform friendly for all users. According to its “Community Standards”, Facebook says: “We do not allow hate speech on Facebook because it creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion and in some cases may promote real-world violence.”
So far in Q1 of 2020, Facebook has removed 9.6 million pieces of hate speech. That’s a 70% increase from the amount of content they removed in Q4 of 2019.
An area that Facebook has not done well in is its moderation of private groups. They have a loose policy stating, “Find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, militia, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.” But finding those groups has become harder as they simultaneously work to increase users’ privacy.
Advertising is not used within these private groups, and since Facebook is diligently working to remove hate speech from public posts, we feel confident that the risk of your institution’s ads appearing next to these types of posts is minimal.
Why we recommend you keep marketing on Facebook
While imperfect, Facebook remains a vital social media platform for many communities. It’s where your institution’s target market is most easily accessible, with nearly 2.6 billion monthly engaged users and 69% of the U.S. actively using Facebook. On top of that, nearly 75% of Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 44, a crucial demographic for Kasasa’s reward checking accounts.
As a local institution, the success of your marketing depends on having a consistent presence within the market to continuously spread awareness about your brand. Brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Adidas are household names with millions of dollars invested in other marketing efforts. Their bottom line won’t be negatively impacted by removing their ads from Facebook, but yours might be.
Facebook is also the most widely used social media platform by our community financial institutions. The insights we’ve gleaned from comparing 350 million impressions across institutions allows us to execute cost-effective campaigns with a high success rate. It would be difficult to gain the same traction and deliver the same level of success that our clients achieve on Facebook if we were to stop running those ads and move to less effective and less used social media channels.
Our clients’ success is our priority
Kasasa sympathizes with the boycott, supports its stance against hate speech, and agrees that Facebook should do better at making its platform a safe place for everyone. We are also focused on the wellbeing of our clients — and all community financial institutions across the US — and believe Facebook is a vital digital marketing channel that drives ongoing success for local banks and credit unions.
We will continue to monitor the conversations that are transpiring, as well as the utility of the platform. If necessary, we will pivot Facebook marketing funds to an Instagram-based strategy, but for now we feel confident in the continued use of Facebook advertising as part of a successful marketing strategy for our institutions.
Please reach out to your Client Success Manager if you have any further questions or concerns.