Danish companies silent on Facebook ad boycott

Marketing experts say Danish companies are not visible in the debate about Facebook and its role in the spread of hate speech

Civil rights activists are pressuring companies worldwide to boycott Facebook over inaction on hate speech (photo: Pixabay/Hermann)
July 1st, 2020 9:36 am| by Ayee Macaraig
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About 240 international brands are pulling advertising from Facebook as part of a campaign against hate speech, but Danish companies are so far silent on the issue.

Multinationals such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Unilever are supporting the ‘StopHateforProfit’ campaign, which aims to pressure Facebook into preventing the spread of hate speech and misinformation by pulling ad revenue from the platform in July.

Yet unlike the US and other global firms, Danish companies do not appear to be joining the boycott, according to advertising agency executives.

“I am aware of the debate but not one of our customers has been aware of it,” Mikael Jørgensen, the CEO of the advertising agency &CO., told DR.

Not visible
US civil rights groups launched the ‘StopHateforProfit’ campaign following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by Minneapolis police last month. The campaign aims to hold Facebook accountable for its lack of action on misinformation and hate speech.

Marketing experts, however, said that Danish companies are unlikely to demand action from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“We are not used to companies taking that type of responsibility,” Gry Høngsmark Knudsen, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Southern Denmark, told DR.

“Danish companies have not been a particularly visible part of the public debate. So going out and putting pressure on Facebook would be very new to them,” she added.

Can’t hide behind platform
Facebook has said that it will team up with civil rights groups to develop more tools to fight hate speech, including measures to ban ads and label hate speech from politicians. Activists though want more action, urging Europe to introduce stronger regulations for tech companies.

While Danish companies have not stopped advertising on Facebook, Jørgensen said that he personally backed the campaign.

“I think it’s great that companies do it. You can’t just hide behind a platform and say you just use it,” he said.