Mark Zuckerberg’s wallet may be a bit lighter this week due to a growing advertiser boycott of Facebook over what critics see as the site’s failure to police hate speech and disinformation on its platform.
As Bloomberg reported, the social media site’s founder lost $7.2 billion as shares of the company fell 8.3 percent on Friday after one of its largest advertisers announced it was joining the boycott. Unilever, a multinational company with a range of products, joined other major brands in pulling advertising from the site. Companies that have already stopped ads on Facebook include Verizon Communications Inc. and Hershey Co., while Coca-Cola Co. said it would be pausing all advertising on social media platforms for 30 days.
As the report added, the loss of Unilever’s advertising led to the sharpest drop for the company’s stock in three months.
“The share-price drop eliminated $56 billion from Facebook’s market value and pushed Zuckerberg’s net worth down to $82.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index,” the report noted. “That also moved the Facebook chief executive officer down one notch to fourth place, overtaken by Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, who was elevated to one of the world’s three richest people along with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.”
Experts have said that advertisers backing out on Facebook are likely to return, but the pressure increasing both on the company and Zuckerberg personally has already led to changes. On Friday, the site’s founder announced that Facebook would now put warning labels on posts that break site rules but are still considered newsworthy. As noted, the announcement was seen as a reversal for Zuckerberg and a likely result of the advertiser boycott.
Zuckerberg has personally come under fire for his vow that Facebook would not follow the lead of social media platform Twitter and add a fact check to disinformation. Twitter has started to mark incorrect information as such, doing so multiple times on tweets from Donald Trump, but Zuckerberg insisted that Facebook would not be an “arbiter of truth.”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, activists have taken aim at Zuckerberg for his stance, including leveling personal attacks against him under the protection of the site’s policies against fact-checking. As Business Insider reported, two Australia-based satirical websites tested the company’s policies by posting a series of obviously fake stories. The sites The Shovel and The Chaser posted articles about Zuckerberg, including one headline that called him a “child molester.”