PepsiCo, Inc. is quietly joining the growing number of companies pulling ad dollars from Facebook, people close to the matter tell FOX Business.
Unlike companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia that have vocalized their frustration with Facebook’s policies involving allegedly racist content allowed on the site, PepsiCo has yet to make an official announcement. But people inside the world’s second largest food and beverage company say the boycott will run through July and August. These people described the move as a “global boycott” on placing Facebook ads.
The move could have broad implications given PepsiCo’s size — revenues of $67 billion last year — and stature producing some of Corporate America’s most iconic brands including its eponymous soft drink. PepsiCo is reported to spend as much as $2.6 billion annually in marketing, promotion and advertising, and like most big companies, it is now dedicating a growing portion of its ad budget to social media platforms such as Facebook, long considered one of the best ways to reach an audience online.
In fact, some big companies, looking to cut costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, were weighing cutting TV advertising and diverting money to cheaper online venues.
But that move ran into the vast social upheaval that followed the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being taken into police custody. The protests also galvanized Corporate America, with many big companies holding seminars on race relations, while groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on social media platforms to better police hate speech on their sites.
Facebook has long been a target of criticism that it hasn’t acted aggressively in curtailing hate speech with its founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg resisting claims to remove posts and label certain types of comments as inappropriate. The criticism of Facebook’s policies intensified after President Trump’ issued a statement on social media amid the George Floyd unrest that “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Facebook allowed the comment to remain on its site, while its rival Twitter took the step of flagging the statement for violating its policies “glorifying violence.”