Verizon (VZ) - Get Report became the biggest company to pull its advertising from Facebook (FB) - Get Report and Facebook-owned Instagram over what it and a growing number of companies and organizations say is inaction by the social networking company to stop hate speech on its platforms.
The communications giant said it was joining other companies including Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and REI in suspending advertising from Facebook-owned platforms until the company “can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.”
“We have strict content policies in place and have zero-tolerance when they are breached, we take action,” John Nitti, Verizon's chief media officer, said in a statement. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”
The decision follows an open letter to advertisers Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League, which this week kicked off a “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which is also being led by the NAACP and Color of Change. The letter highlighted an example of a Verizon ad that the ADL said appeared beside a conspiracy-mongering post on Facebook.
"We found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric," the letter read, "warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on the civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts."
In its statement, Verizon said: "We have strict content policies in place and have zero-tolerance when they are breached."
"We applaud Verizon for joining this growing fight against hate and bigotry by pausing their advertising on Facebook's platforms until they put people and safety over profit," said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. "This is how real change is made."
"Higher costs and decelerating revenues suggest that Facebook’s best days may have been left behind - and the current 'boycott Facebook' campaign will probably not help it recover in the short term," Martins wrote.
Shares of Verizon were down 1.95% at $53.22 in trading on Friday. Shares of Facebook were down 5.55% at $222.59.