CPG giant Unilever will resume advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the US in January.
The Anglo-Dutch company, maker of pigeon soap and ice cream from Ben & Jerry, was one of the first companies to ban social media advertising this summer when Facebook was boycotted for mismanaging misinformation and hateful posts on its website . The ad spend break was originally supposed to run until the end of 2020.
“Further advertising on these platforms at this point would not add value to people or society,” Unilever said at the time.
The manufacturer noted that the work with the social platforms was positive and that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have committed to using common definitions of harmful content, to report on the distribution of this content and to enable independent review and design tools, the advertisers and media agencies offer more control.
“We are encouraged by the commitments the platforms are making to create a healthier environment for consumers, brands and society in accordance with the principles of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media,” said Luis Di Como, EPP for global media at Unilever , in a statement. “Because of this, we plan to end our social media investment break in the US in January. We will reconsider our position if necessary. “
Although Facebook saw many of its best-known customers leave its platforms for a short time this summer, it suffered most from its public image and Capitol Hill regulators who were already scrutinizing Facebook’s business.
“Are you so big that you don’t care how you’re hit by a huge boycott of 1,100 advertisers?” Rep. Pramila Jayapal asked Mark Zuckerberg at an antitrust hearing in July.
In an interview with Adweek, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, who led the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, said that Facebook “has monopoly indifference and a failure to respond to customer demands”. Facebook has since been sued by 48 states and the Federal Trade Commission, though that lawsuit focuses on allegedly illegal acquisitions from competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook’s revenue, almost entirely from advertising, was not affected. It rose 22% year over year to $ 21.47 billion in the third quarter of the year, including the July boycott. Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, noted after the October earnings call that Facebook had “recovered well” from early pandemic advertising budget cuts and the boycott in July.
Under pressure from competitors, advertisers, and regulators, Facebook has made some changes to its platform since the boycott began: it released a long-belated civil rights review, made new commitments to combat algorithmic bias, and started flagging illegal posts from global leaders. and acted against the content of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In October, Unilever reported that third-quarter sales were up 4.4% year over year. This is partly due to the demand for hygiene products and condiments like Hellmann’s mayonnaise as more and more people are preparing meals at home during the pandemic.