Should advertisers delete Facebook?
An Ad Age-Harris poll taken last week found 55 percent of U.S. consumers agreeing brands and organizations should stop advertising on Facebook with 77 percent believing the social media company is more interested in protecting its bottom line than its users.
The survey of about 1,000 consumers echoed the sentiments of last week’s Senate bombshell testimony from whistleblower Frances Haugen, who told Congress that Facebook executives had consistently chosen “profits before safety.”
Getting the most attention among the trove of leaked documents from the former Facebook employee has been the contention that Instagram is detrimental to the mental health of teenagers. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the Ad Age-Harris poll indicated they were likely to limit or stop their children from using Instagram.
Still, 62 percent were not likely to delete their Facebook app as a result of the recent allegations. A slight majority indicated either Facebook or Instagram is no worse for their mental health than other apps.
A separate Advertising Age article also indicated that major advertisers are more incentivized to continue partnering to resolve the issues, which also include charges of political polarization, hate speech and disinformation, rather than boycott the platform.
Some, however, see the whistleblower controversy raising ethical questions for corporations because the new revelations demonstrate the consequences of Facebook’s algorithms. Michael Wall, a marketing professor at Washington University’s Olin Business School, said in a press release, “Advertisers are now aware, and they will now be faced with decisions related to both the ethical use of data and being values-based.”
On his LinkedIn blog, futurist Rohit Bhargava implied advertisers are complicit and that advertising dollars need to align with CSR/ESG objectives. He wrote, “Certainly part of the solution could be better legislation or more oversight. But alongside these moves, organizations need to make the same difficult choices they are making when it comes to climate or labor or diversity practices and say enough is enough.”
Facebook has basically denied the accusations and on Monday promised to implement new tools to divert users away from harmful content and give parents more control of teens’ Instagram accounts.
- Facebook Users Unlikely To Delete App But Want Brands To Pull Ads, Poll Finds – Advertising Age
- Facebook Advertisers See No Choice But To Stick With The Platform – Advertising Age
- The Facebook Files – The Wall Street Journal
- How media buyers are reacting to Facebook’s drama: ‘spread your risks and ad dollars’ – The Drum
- Facebook says its outage was caused by a cascade of errors. – The New York Times
- 9 Horrifying Facts From the Facebook Whistleblower’s New 60 Minutes Interview – Gizmodo
- Here are 4 key points from the Facebook whistleblower’s testimony on Capitol Hill – NPR
- Mark Zuckerberg’s 10/5/2021 statement – Facebook
- WashU Experts: Facebook controversy raises ethical questions for corporations – Washington University
- Don’t Blame Facebook. Blame the Marketers. – LinkedIn
- Facebook unveils new tools to “nudge” young users away from harmful content – CBS News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should the allegations of harm to teens cause retailers and brands to reassess their advertising budgets on Facebook or Instagram? Is this a social media or specifically a Facebook/Instagram problem?