Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Calls for advertisers to boycott Facebook grew this week, amid increased scrutiny around the tech giant for the way it moderates content.

Why it matters: Tension between advertisers and the tech giant have existed for years, but now — as the country faces a reckoning over longstanding systemic racism — marketers feel more compelled to take a public stand against companies that waffle on filtering hate speech.

Driving the news: The North Face, the outdoor apparel brand, became the first major marketer on Friday to announce that it is boycotting the use of Facebook advertising.

  • Also, in an email to clients obtained by The Wall Street Journal Friday, 360i, a digital-ad agency owned by global ad holding group Dentsu Group Inc., urged its clients to support the ad boycott being advocated by civil rights groups.

What they're saying: "We deeply respect any brand’s decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information," Facebook's VP of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said in a statement to Axios. "Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good."

Catch up quick: The push for an ad boycott began last week, when six civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, began urging marketers to stop buying ads on Facebook, using the hashtag #stophateforprofit, in a bid to pressure the company to take firmer action against hate speech and other harmful material.

  • Facebook critics like Sleeping Giants, a social media activist organization, and early Facebook investor-turned critic Roger McNamee quickly started to pressure marketers on social media using the hashtag.

Yes, but: Scattered boycotts rarely amount to any real revenue losses for the company, which saw almost $70 billion in ad revenue last year — although revenue is expected to come in nearly $16 billion below original estimates this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeper: A trickle of Facebook advertisers depart in protest

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2020 - Technology

The people trying to get in Biden's head on holding tech accountable

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden has said he wants to make tech platforms more accountable for rampant misinformation, and different players are now trying to get his ear on just how to do that should he win the election next week.

The big picture: Biden has never sketched out a specific tech policy platform, leaving an opening for different interests to try to shape his views on issues pertaining to Silicon Valley — including tech's prized liability shield.

Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

Oct 27, 2020 - Technology

Tech battens down the hatches for Election Day chaos

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


A week out from Election Day, online platforms are bracing for impact, making announcements and conducting internal tests to show they're ready for chaos.

Why it matters: The internet is guaranteed to be awash in misinformation and superheated rhetoric in the days before and after the election, and digital gatekeepers hope to avoid shouldering blame for "undermining democracy" as happened after 2016.