As you may have seen, there has been an uprising started by larger agencies protesting the use of Facebook ads because of Facebook’s lack of monitoring political ads, Facebook’s lax data policies, and their allowing ads to target specific groups of people as dangerous. The hashtag for this movement can be found all across the web at #StopHateForProfit.
This movement started when Facebook labeled Breitbart News as a “Trusted News Source”, along with The Daily Caller. Both of these platforms have been known to foster hateful ideologies, and are largely unreliable sources. Facebook has also allowed ads to be published regarding a social group being dangerous to the public. And if that’s not bad enough, think back to the 2017 Cambridge Analytica Scandal, where the political consulting firm was able to harvest data from 87 billion Facebook profiles in order to manipulate voters into supporting the Trump campaign. Of course, Facebook has made changes to its data policies since then, but agencies and companies big and small are tired of Facebook allowing manipulation of users for the sole purpose of profit. Facebook has time-after-time chosen to tacitly allow hateful content on its platform without intervention.
We, as a company, are not in favor of supporting this complete lack of control over hate-speech, the vilification of social groups, and the promotion of politically manipulative content. Wink Digital has always been a company dedicated to love, support, and power, especially as it comes to standing up for marginalized groups. Our mission, as it comes to social change, is to be an agency that focuses on uplifting communities through thoughtful marketing campaigns. And, it just so happens that Facebook is not supporting that same mission. However, we acknowledge the double-edged sword here. For bigger companies, Facebook ads are important, but their revenue will continue to exist with or without the ads. For many smaller companies, their monthly revenue may be entirely dependent on the ads they’re running on Facebook and Instagram. And, unfortunately, we are the ones managing those accounts. So, we have reached out to our clients to acknowledge our step back from initiating Facebook ads, and instead have provided options regarding the usage of platforms like Twitter, TikTok, Google, and Reddit in order to reach desired audiences. For the clients who choose to proceed with Facebook ads, we will support them in managing their accounts. For the clients who choose to support the #stophateforprofit movement, we will be handling the migration of the ads to another platform. As with all our client relationships, we respect the right for our clients to make the decisions for their own businesses.
The answer is simple: we care about our clients’ success. If they feel like Facebook is the key to keeping their businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, we respect their decision to keep their ads running. However, we as a company, will not ever be participating in ads that promote hate-speech or politically inaccurate agendas. We also will not be taking on any new Facebook ad clients at this time. But, our company has always been and forever will be, a champion of choice, and we will continue to.
Brands are defined by the actions they take, how well they support their customers, and their responses to crises. Your actions as your company’s leader will contribute to who is and is not drawn to working with you. Both positively and negatively, the choices you make as a leader will impact your company for years to come. We hope you make the best choice possible for your business, your finances, and your clients.
Since this blog post was published, Facebook has largely increased their transparency with political and social movements by showing related ad-spend in the Facebook Ad Library. At this point, we have decided to that these steps are enough for us to feel comfortable with proceeding with Facebook ads starting on August 1, 2020.