Facebook is being crippled by an advertiser boycott over hate speech — and pleading for a solution: report
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing a new firestorm over the social network's handling of Russian misinformation efforts in the 2016 US election season AFP/File / GERARD JULIEN

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Facebook is facing a serious threat to its revenue by a growing advertiser boycott over the network's failure to control hate speech — and that executives are increasingly pleading with advertisers for a solution that will satisfy everyone.

"Marketing giants like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Pfizer announced that they were pausing their Facebook advertising. That outcry has grown, hitting the company’s wallet," reported Tiffany Hsu and Mike Isaac. "To contain the damage, Facebook began holding daily calls and sending emails to advertisers to soothe them, advertising executives said. Nick Clegg, the company’s communications chief, made a series of media appearances stressing that Facebook was doing its best to tamp down hate speech. On Monday, Facebook also agreed to an audit by the Media Rating Council over its approach to hate speech."

This is a shift from last week, when, according to the report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told advertising partners the company intended to stay the course.

"The push from advertisers has led Facebook’s business to a precarious point," said the report. "While the social network has struggled with issues such as election interference and privacy in recent years, its juggernaut digital ads business has always powered forward. The Silicon Valley company has never faced a public backlash of this magnitude from its advertisers, whose spending accounts for more than 98 percent of its annual $70.7 billion in revenue."

A report last week said that Zuckerberg personally has already lost $7 billion as a result of the boycott's effect on the firm's share price.

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