Has Facebook become toxic for advertisers?
In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, should the advertising community join the #DeleteFacebook movement?
The U.K-based data firm has been accused of obtaining the personal information of about 50 million users to build profiles of American voters that were later used to help elect Donald Trump.
With the hashtag #DeleteFacebook gaining traction online, Sonos said Friday it was pulling its advertising from Facebook and its sister-company, Instagram, as well as Google and Twitter for one week.
“The Cambridge Analytica scandal, like many recent headlines coming out of Silicon Valley, raises questions about whether Big Tech is doing enough to balance its own interests with one of its biggest responsibilities: safeguarding your privacy,” the smart-speaker maker wrote in a blog post.
Commerzbank, the German bank, and Mozilla made similar moves. In February, Unilever threatened to pull its ads from Facebook, YouTube and other social sites due to objectionable content and divisive, fabricated news stories. Procter & Gamble issued similar warnings last year.
On Sunday, a new online poll from Reuters/Ipsos showed that 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook to obey laws that protect their personal information. That compares to 66 percent for Amazon and 62 percent for Google.
Facebook on Sunday ran advertisements in British and U.S. newspapers apologizing to users for the “breach of trust” while downplaying last week’s actions by advertisers. Facebook said in a statement, “Most of the businesses we’ve spoken with this week are pleased with the steps we’ve outlined to better protect people’s data.”
An exodos of users would obviously sink Facebook’s advertising appeal, but that’s not expected to happen. Facebook was already held in low regard by many prior to the scandal, and people’s habits are ingrained in using the social media platform.
A larger concern for advertisers is whether stricter implementation of data safeguards will limit their ability to target users effectively. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times said Google would also be affected as well if authorities impose more restrictions over the use of data. Calls are also rising to regulate Facebook like a utility in what would basically lead to a switch to a subscription model.
- Why We’re Pulling Our Ads From Big Tech Platforms Next Week – Sonos
- Polls show Facebook losing trust as firm uses ads to apologize – Reuters
- Advertisers are turning up the heat on Facebook – CNN
- Unilever warns social platforms to clean up content – RetailWire
- Facebook and Google Face Emboldened Antagonists: Big Advertisers – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the Facebook business model in danger of breaking down? Do you see the data challenges facing Facebook as a bigger issue facing the internet’s free-services for personal data model?