This week we discuss the Facebook ad boycott. Well, it really isn’t a total boycott but more like a brief pause by hundreds of major consumer brands in their advertising programs with Facebook and all of its social media platforms. CNN is keeping track of who is pulling their ads this month. However, the protests aren’t expected to hurt Facebook very much since most of its $70 billion in annual ad revenue comes from smaller businesses, something that Andrew Yang discusses on his podcast with cybersecurity pro John Redgrave and is worth listening to (after you listen to ours).
The effort was created by a group of anti-hate speech advocates such as NAACP and ADL under the banner of Stop Hate for Profit. That website lists their demands for changes to Facebook’s operations. We wonder why more B2B companies haven’t stepped up to this effort. David wrote a blog post with his point of view last month here. Shortly after we recorded this episode, the results of an internal audit were released, finding that Facebook’s “approach to civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal.” Clearly the company still has a long way to go, particularly since top executives appear to be in denial that anything is wrong in the first place.
Facebook has also been criticized for some sloppy programming with its API, allowing discontinued mobile apps to still access private data. The company has made a lame and half-hearted response.
Speaking about other worthwhile podcasts, the NY Times tech columnist Kevin Roose has been producing a series called Rabbit Hole about how social networks in general, and YouTube in particular, suck people into echo chambers through their recommendation engines. It’s an unsettling series and well worth a listen if you want to know how Gen Z and younger use social media.