Huge Companies Are Pulling Facebook Ads; They’ll Just Come Crawling Back
"Performative" is one of the best words to spring forth from our era of Wokeness. It's when someone is going through the motions of modern social enlightenment in a way that's transparently soulless. It lacks the conviction of someone who actually believes in standing for what's right. The best recurring example can be found in where corporations spend their ad money.
Just gonna leave this here ...
Right now, there's an all-out corporate revolt against Facebook, because of their "repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms," according to the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP. Their campaign to call out Facebook for their strategy of doing as little as humanly possible to stop the easy spread of hate has forced major companies who advertise on Facebook to pull their money until some kind of meaningful action is taken.
This will last, what? A few months, tops? Most of these huge corporations don't really care where people see their ads. They like the PR move of pulling the ads in the midst of a big social movement but will come crawling back to the purveyors of hate speech the second the coast is clear. Tucker Carlson's Fox News show is the perfect example. Tucker has been losing advertisers on and off for years. He'll say some flagrantly racist shit that will with spark controversy, and corporations will pull their ad money in a transparent display of solidarity with whatever minority group Carlson offended that week ... then the advertisers quietly return to his show because the racists must know that it's snow crab season at Red Lobster. Here are some companies pulling adds off his show in 2017, then again in 2018, again in 2019, and right now in 2020.
For four straight years, there's been an ebb and flow of companies pulling their ad money only to put it right back in and then out again. People without a meta-view on this pattern point to this as a victory for decency on the airwaves, that by maybe attacking Tucker's wallet will finally teach him a lesson. After four years of back and forth, it sure seems like the only lesson Tucker has learned is that he just needs to trudge through a few months of four My Pillow ads during every commercial break before his racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic screeds will once again be bookended by ads from bigger brands.
It's impossible to see the mass Facebook advertiser exodus working out any other way. Tucker Carlson attracts millions of viewers a night, while Facebook is the largest social digital platform in the world, with a reach that extends even further through Instagram and Whatsapp. The allure of reaching 2.5 billion people with a single ad buy is way stronger for large companies than that not having your product associated with a bigot, in a bowtie, with the perpetually down-slopped eyebrows of a puppy that has no idea why he's being punished since all he did was suggest that White Supremacy is pretty cool. Facebook is too big to lose advertisers for too long. As Tucker Carlson shows us, they're all going to come crawling back whether Facebook makes any meaningful change or not. The only thing that will truly keep them away is if Facebook's engagement numbers take a steep hit ... which might actually happen sooner than later.
Facebook's fasting growing user base is people 65 and older, thus explaining the exponential increase of racist Boomer memes with an image resolution so low they make you wonder if you need to update your contact prescription. Teenagers hardly use it any more thanks in large part to its continued catering to old racist shitbags. The future may not be exactly grim since a lot of the young people just migrate over their Instagram, but the core brand that started it all is relying on an audience that will not be alive in a decade. Facebook won't be facing a true reckoning anytime soon, but when it does, it might be apocalyptic. Might.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Catch him on the "In Broad Daylight" podcast with Cracked alums Adam Tod Brown and Ian Fortey! Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. Listen to the first episode on YouTube!
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