MARK ZUCKERBERG'S WEALTH PLUNGES BY $7BN AS COMPANIES BOYCOTT FACEBOOK ADS

Following a major advertising boycott onFacebook, Mark Zuckerberg has now lost over $7.2 billion USD in net worth, according to reports.

By Balthazar Malevolent

MARK ZUCKERBERG'S WEALTH PLUNGES BY $7BN AS COMPANIES BOYCOTT FACEBOOK ADS

After a flurry of businesses removed ads from the Facebook network, Mark Zuckerberg just became $7.2 billion poorer.

Major US companies boycott Facebook.

Social media company shares fell 8.3 percent on Friday, the most in three months after Unilever, one of the world's largest advertisers, joined other brands in boycotting social network advertisements.

Unilever, which owns brands including Hellmann's mayonnaise and Axe shower gel and has an $8 billion annual advertising budget, said they won't advertise their products on Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook-owned Instagram for the rest of the year because of the hate speech and divisive politics that users frequently share.

"Continuing ads on these channels does not add value to consumers and society at this time," Unilever said in an emailed statement. "We will continue to track and if necessary re-examine our current position."

The fall in the Facebook share price eliminated $56bn from the market value of the company and pushed Mr. Zuckerberg's net worth down to $82.3bn, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index says. That also pushed the Facebook chief executive down one notch to fourth place, overtaken by Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, who together with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates were elevated to one of three richest people in the world.

Companies from Verizon Communications to Hershey have stopped social media ads after critics claimed that Facebook has failed to sufficiently police hate speech and disinformation on the platform. Coca-Cola said they would spend at least 30 days pausing all paid advertising on all social media platforms.

Mr. Zuckerberg replied to the increasing criticism of misinformation on the site on Friday, announcing that the company would mark all poll-related posts with a link that invites users to look at its new voter information portal. Facebook also expanded its definition of banned hate speech by adding a clause stating that no advertisements will be permitted if they label another demographic as dangerous.

"There are no exceptions in any of the policies that I am announcing here today for politicians," Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Twitter shares also tumbled to $29.05 on Friday following the announcement by Unilever, dropping 7.4%.

A civil rights coalition and other advocacy organizations, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, have called on advertisers to stop advertising for the month of July on Facebook-owned sites to protest the company's policies. On Friday, Honda's US unit said it would join the July boycott and halt advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. Unilever's pledge extends through 2020, adding to the mix Twitter social network, which has always struggled to cope with derogatory tweets but has lately taken a more aggressive approach than Facebook in several cases linked to US President Donald Trump.

So far, the organizers of the boycott have said more than 100 corporations are involved.

"We spend billions of dollars per year to keep our community secure and collaborate constantly with external experts to review and update our policies," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement adding that the company has removed 250 White nationalist groups from its platforms. "We know we have more work to do and we're going to continue collaborating with civil rights organizations, GARM and other experts to build even more tools, technologies and policies to continue this war."

Twitter, which wasn't the object of the formal ad boycott but endured similar critiques as Facebook over the years, says Unilever reached out to warn the company of its decision before making the announcement publicly.

"Our goal is to support the public discourse and ensure that Twitter is a place where people can communicate with each other, search and receive accurate and reliable information, and express themselves openly and safely," said Sarah Personette, Twitter 's global customer solutions vice president, in a statement. "We support the decisions taken by our partners and will continue to work and collaborate closely with them throughout this time."

Alexander Wang house has also joined the above-mentioned companies to boycott Facebook.

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