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Hershey cuts Facebook and Instagram spend by a third for 2020, joins July boycott

Hershey Co. says it is joining next month’s Stop Hate For Profit boycott as it hasn’t seen any meaningful change from Facebook when it comes to hate speech and is slashing its spending with the social media giant by a third for the rest of the year, including on Instagram. 

Hershey is one of several companies making comments about social media ad plans that include the decision to not advertise on Facebook in July. Unilever took a bold move Friday, saying it will not spend on ads on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in the U.S. through the end of the year. And Coca-Cola Co. announced it’s pausing its spending on all social media platforms, including Google-owned YouTube, for at least 30 days. 

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a message outlining plans to tackle disinformation and label harmful content, but organizers of the July ad pause say the moves don’t go far enough. While a growing list of brands has joined the Stop Hate For Profit effort, some major marketers are still mulling their plans. McDonald’s, for example, says it is reviewing its brand standards for all media partners.

Hershey Co. Chief Marketing Officer Jill Baskin issued the following statement on Friday: 

We do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform. Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change. Earlier this month we communicated to Facebook that we were unhappy with their stance on hate speech. We have now cut our spending on Facebook and their platforms, including Instagram, by a third for the remainder of the year. In addition, we will now join the #stophateforprofit boycott. We are hopeful that Facebook will take action and make it a safe space for our consumers to communicate and gather. As a company, we stand for the values of togetherness and inclusion and we are resolute in our commitment to make a difference and be part of positive change.

 And Alistair Macrow, McDonald’s new global CMO, had this to say late Friday:

We’ve been actively working with Facebook and other partners to understand how they plan to act on the concerns regarding their platforms. McDonald’s is conducting a full review of our brand standards for all media partners, which is a top priority for me, as it creates a common understanding of where our values align, and if they diverge. This gives us the opportunity to be more purposeful in how we invest, and with whom we invest, our media dollars. Going forward, we’ll work to further align our media partnerships with organizations and platforms that are consistent with our values and that are taking real actions, which is one of many ways we can drive change in promoting a more inclusive and more equitable society.