Facebook Boycott: Here We Go Again

Advertising Boycott:

If the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, one mishandled public relations incident after another and numerous earnings calls that went down as some of the biggest blunders in history wasn’t enough, now enter an international advertising boycott. Here we go again, Facebook (FB) investors have been through a lot over the past two years. Now another challenge is confronting the company via an advertising boycott that’s growing into the hundreds of multinational companies. This challenge may weigh heavier on the company since this boycott will directly impact revenue as expenses swell. The magnitude of this boycott will inevitably influence the stock price as this movement grows in numbers and duration. If Facebook can appease advertisers in a timely fashion then this may be a temporary challenge. However as advertising spending is abandoned indefinitely due to this boycott and overall spend slows due to COVID-19, this culmination could cast uncertainty around its stock valuation. Thus far, over 400-plus brands have fled Facebook

Boycott Growing In Numbers and Duration:

International household names such as Adidas, Best Buy (BBY), Clorox (CLX), Ford (F), HP (HPQ), Starbucks (SBUX), Coca-Cola (K) and Verizon (VZ) have joined the advertising boycott across Facebook and its platforms. There are companies that are jumping on the bandwagon daily with a major recent addition of Microsoft (MSFT). Total advertisers that have abandoned Facebook and its Instagram properties have now ballooned to over 400 organizations. With an undefined timeframe of how long these advertisers will stay away from the Facebook may dampen revenue expectations. Another complexity that may arise is the ability to appease the collective group of advertisers in order to bring all of these companies back to the platform.     

Bridging the Advertiser Gap:

Facebook and its top executives including Mark Zuckerberg himself have agreed to meet with civil rights groups who organized an advertising boycott of the platform. Facebook and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change will hold a meeting with COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. The civil rights groups said they wanted Mark Zuckerberg to be at the meeting as well. Facebook said it would submit to an audit of its hate speech controls, adding to plans to label newsworthy content that would otherwise violate its policies, following similar practices to Twitter (TWTR). We’ll see if these meetings and corrective actions will begin the healing process with the hundreds of companies that have paused advertising spend on its platforms.

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Disclosure: The author holds shares in AAL, AAPL, AMC, AMZN, AXP, DIA, GOOGL, JPM, KSS, MA, MSFT, QQQ, SPY and USO. However he may engage in options trading in any of the underlying securities. The ...

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