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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coca-Cola, Unilever and Hershey said Friday that they're cutting back on social-media-advertising, adding seismic voices to a growing boycott of Facebook.

Why it matters: This is a vivid example of a trend spotted last year by Axios CEO Jim VandeHei, and amplified by the new American realities brought on by the virus and protests: CEOs are the new politicians. They're helping do what President Trump and Congress would not.

Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO James Quincey said the massive advertiser "will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days."

  • And then his zinger: "We ... expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”

Similarly, Unilever headlined its announcement: "Driving a Responsible Digital Ecosystem in These Polarized Times."

  • Unilever limited its action to brand advertising on Facebook, Instagram (owned by Faceb0ok) and Twitter in the U.S.: "Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society."

Be smart: What started out as an industry scuttle over the way Facebook moderates its content has now turned into a larger cultural battle over curbing hate and bigotry online.

  • Even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who speak out only occasionally on certain issues around mental health and social justice, have been privately advocating for the #stophateforprofit campaign, which includes a boycott of Facebook, according to multiple sources working closely with the couple.
Via Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page

Also Friday, Facebook said it will flag "newsworthy" posts from politicians who break its rules, including Trump.

  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously said people deserved unfiltered statements from leaders.
  • Facebook told us Friday's changes were in the works before the boycott, with an eye toward November.

The big picture... This is another example of the bottom-up revolution: Employees expect something, CEO does something, Facebook responds.

Go deeper: Facebook faces trust crisis as ad boycott grows

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Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 2, 2020 - Technology

Get ready for a flood of deepfakes, experts warn

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If social media platforms don't start dealing much more aggressively with altered audio and video, they risk seeing their platforms devolve into a sea of faked content, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: The platforms are already struggling to deal with manipulated media, and the technology to create "deepfakes," which are fabricated media generated by machine-learning-based software, is improving rapidly.

Oct 1, 2020 - Technology

Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech CEOs

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool via Getty Images

The Senate Commerce Committee has voted to authorize subpoenas compelling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to testify before the panel.

Why it matters: The tech giants are yet again facing a potential grilling on Capitol Hill sometime before the end of the year, at a time when tech is being used as a punching bag from both the left and right.

Oct 2, 2020 - Technology

Tech CEOs back for more Hill testimony right before election

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CEOs of Twitter, Google and Facebook will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on October 28, six days before Election Day, a committee aide confirmed to Axios.

Driving the news: On Thursday, the committee authorized subpoenas for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Twitter's Jack Dorsey. By Friday evening, the companies and the committee worked out a date, first reported by Politico.