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Boycotted companies

More Than 1,000 Companies Boycotted Facebook. Did It Work? – The New York Times

Major advertisers on Facebook reduced their spending by millions of dollars in July, but not enough to significantly damage the platform’s revenue.

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The advertiser boycott of Facebook took a toll on the social media giant, but it may have caused more damage to the company’s reputation than to its bottom line.

The boycott, called #StopHateForProfit by the civil rights groups that organized it, urged companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook in July to protest the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. More than 1,000 advertisers publicly joined, out of a total pool of more than 9 million, while others quietly scaled back their spending.

The 100 advertisers that spent the most on Facebook in the first half of the year spent $221.4 million from July 1 through July 29, 12 percent less than the $251.4 million spent by the top 100 advertisers a year earlier, according to estimates from the advertising analytics platform Pathmatics. Of those 100, nine companies formally announced a pullback in paid advertising, cutting their spending to $507,500 from $26.2 million.

Many of the companies that stayed away from Facebook said they planned to return, and many are mom-and-pop enterprises and individuals that depend on the platform for promotion. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has emphasized the importance of small business, saying during an earnings call on Thursday that “some seem to wrongly assume that our business is dependent on a few large advertisers.”

Facebook said that the top 100 spenders contributed 16 percent of its $18.7 billion in revenue in the second quarter, which ended on June 30. During the first three weeks of July, Facebook said, overall ad revenue grew 10 percent over last year, a rate the company expects to continue for the full quarter.

The boycott complicated planning for advertisers. The Kansas-based digital agency DEG had “a whirlwind of a month” as its small to midsize clients grappled with whether they could reach enough customers without Facebook, said Quinn Sheek, its director of media and search. Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram make up more than a third of digital spending for DEG clients.

Of the 60 percent of DEG clients that joined the July boycott, four out of five are planning to return to Facebook in August, with many having “decided it’s too much for them during a difficult economic time to remain off,” Ms. Sheek said. Still, the boycott helped amplify discussion of toxic content on Facebook. The issue was raised in a congressional hearing this past week and in repeated meetings between ad industry representatives and Facebook leaders. In the face of the pressure, Facebook released the results of a civil rights audit last month and agreed to hire a civil rights executive.

“What could really hurt Facebook is the long-term effect of its perceived reputation and the association with being viewed as a publisher of ‘hate speech’ and other inappropriate content,” Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, the executive vice president of the public opinion analysis company RepTrak, wrote in a post last month.

In addition to the prevalence of hate speech on the platform, its critics have also focused on the company’s treatment of user privacy and foreign election interference.

“You could argue that Facebook has a bloodied nose and two reputational black eyes,” Mr. Hahn-Griffiths wrote.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said during the company’s earnings call that, like the boycott’s organizers, “we don’t want hate on our platforms, and we stand firmly against it.”

The ad industry was already in upheaval when the boycott began, as businesses closed, layoffs swept through the economy and homebound consumers slowed their shopping. Before they reduced spending on Facebook in July, advertisers like Microsoft, Starbucks, Unilever and Target took a temporary break from the platform in June, as many companies were reacting to pandemic-related marketing budget cuts and widespread protests over racism and police brutality. Disney’s spending on Facebook has mostly trended downward since late March, according to Pathmatics.

Last month, large advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Walmart and Geico sharply curtailed paid advertising on Facebook without joining the official boycott, according to Pathmatics. Others, like Hershey and Hulu, beefed up their spending on alternate platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

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Companies like Beam Suntory and Coca-Cola have vowed to continue pressuring Facebook, especially as the presidential race heats up. On Thursday, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s said it planned to keep withholding spending on product promotions through the end of the year “to send a message.”

The advertiser boycott “was a warning shot, an opening salvo,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League, which helped set up the ad boycott. Organizers and other groups now plan to expand the boycott into Europe, to include Facebook users, and to address other concerns, like the presence of child sexual abuse on the platform.

Half of the companies that work with the agency Allen & Gerritsen in Boston and Philadelphia participated in the boycott, said Derek Welch, its vice president of media. Many felt it was important to “do something that is meaningful and tangible in a sea of brands putting out very well-meaning statements,” he said.

Mr. Welch said the agency’s clients typically spend $150,000 to $200,000 a month total on Facebook. Several plan to continue boycotting.

“The big companies that have signed on have been great for visibility and getting the word out,” he said. “But this is really all about these small businesses in aggregate who are spending $30,000 here or $50,000 there, whose decisions wouldn’t normally make too much of a difference.”

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boycotting companies

Big companies that are boycotting Facebook advertise on Russia’s equivalent of social network, report says – Fox News

The companies boycotting Facebook in an effort to fight hate speech have been advertising for years on VK.com, “a Russian social media platform that bans gay-rights groups and is known as a haven for white supremacists,” the Washington Free Beacon said in a report this week.

VK (short for VKontakte), based in Saint Petersburg, describes itself as the largest social network in Russia.

In the past few weeks, advertisements for hundreds of brands — including Adidas, Starbucks, Patagonia, and Pepsi – have been disappearing from Facebook as the Stop Hate for Profit boycott campaign gears up.

The campaign is an effort to pressure the social network led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg into cracking down on hate speech.

But advertising has continued on VK.com, according to the Washington Free Beacon — though it’s not clear if these companies are, as of Wednesday, actively running ads on VK.

AMID FACEBOOK BOYCOTT OVER HATE SPEECH, ADS FOR 530 BRANDS SET TO DISAPPEAR FROM PLATFORM

The Free Beacon report cites, from July of last year, the Anti-Defamation League when it said that the Russian social media service has become “‘an international hub for white supremacists’ who have been kicked off mainstream U.S. social media websites such as Facebook” but continue to be active on VK.

In this photo illustration the VKontakte (VK) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration the VKontakte (VK) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Back in 2016, The Atlantic cited VK in a report, “American Neo-Nazis Are on Russia’s Facebook.”

That report said “white supremacists” had been migrating to VK for several years after Facebook took measures at that time to crack down on hate speech.

The Free Beacon added that though VK has taken steps to cull hate groups from its site, “organizations like the National Socialist Movement and the Ku Klux Klan still maintain an active presence on the website.”

BLACK WORKERS HIT FACEBOOK WITH CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT ALLEGING DISCRIMINATION AND BIAS

“We completely disagree with the statement claiming that we are ‘an international hub for white supremacists.’ VK has never tolerated calls to violence, nor nationalist or extremist propaganda, regardless of their place of origin. If such content is found, the VK Team reacts quickly to remove it and block offenders,” VK told Fox News in a statement.

“Thanks to user reports and proactive monitoring, we delete hundreds of thousands of pieces of content and block thousands of profiles every month for promoting violence and cruelty or distributing shocking content on our platform, regardless of where the offender is from,” VK said.

“There is more information about what we do to fight against calls to violence in our ‘Safety Guidelines’ section,” according to VK.

Fox News sought comments from companies cited in this story; only a few responded.

Starbucks told Fox News it is not doing any paid advertising on VK.com.

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Adidas told Fox News in a statement: “The swift and resolute action taken with Facebook and Instagram was only a first step. We are already underway with developing criteria that we will hold every one of our partners accountable to. We all have a responsibility for creating and maintaining safe environments, and we will soon address this across any company we may work with.”

Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this article.

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companies remains

Cash Remains King as Companies Close a Dismal Second Quarter – The Wall Street Journal

Giant companies from McDonald’s Corp. to Intel Corp. are husbanding cash, cutting costs and tapping debt, all moves that bolster their resilience amid persistent uncertainty wrought by the new coronavirus.

At the same time, corporate leaders and investors are gauging when it will make sense to economize less and spend more to avoid losing out to rivals once the recovery begins in earnest.

“I…

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companies stocks

Stocks of bankrupt companies going bananas despite companies being broke – Yahoo Finance

HTZ), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was dumped by activist investor Carl Icahn only to be picked up by many users on Robinhood and other stock-trading platforms.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>There’s been a surge of interest in stocks of companies in financial trouble, most notably Hertz (HTZ), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was dumped by activist investor Carl Icahn only to be picked up by many users on Robinhood and other stock-trading platforms.

sell $1 billion in new shares of stock that are essentially worthless. ” data-reactid=”17″ type=”text”>The interest in Hertz has been so hot that the company asked and was granted the right to sell $1 billion in new shares of stock that are essentially worthless. 

on CNBC. “Take Hertz. A company in a bankruptcy procedure that saw its share price go up….now they’re talking about issuing stocks, warning investors they may be worthless.”” data-reactid=”18″ type=”text”>”What you’re getting right now is this great disconnect between fundamentals and finance,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, on CNBC. “Take Hertz. A company in a bankruptcy procedure that saw its share price go up….now they’re talking about issuing stocks, warning investors they may be worthless.”

opened at $3.37 and saw highs and lows of $6.25 and $3.09, respectively, which represent massive swings over 80%. The whole week was like this, with moments during the day where the stock was up or down to a huge degree. Even on June 11, the flattest day for the stock, there were moments when the stock was up 7%.” data-reactid=”19″ type=”text”>On June 9, Hertz opened at $3.37 and saw highs and lows of $6.25 and $3.09, respectively, which represent massive swings over 80%. The whole week was like this, with moments during the day where the stock was up or down to a huge degree. Even on June 11, the flattest day for the stock, there were moments when the stock was up 7%.

Hertz is having a tough time, but its stock is very, very popular. (Photo by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

CHK) have also had wild rides in the market of late. Chesapeake shares went from the low teens on June 4 to a session high of $77.50 on June 8 (around a 397% gain), finishing the week at just under $20. ” data-reactid=”31″ type=”text”>Hertz isn’t the only stock like this; J.C. Penney, which is also in Chapter 11, and other risky companies, like Chesapeake Energy (CHK) have also had wild rides in the market of late. Chesapeake shares went from the low teens on June 4 to a session high of $77.50 on June 8 (around a 397% gain), finishing the week at just under $20. 

to use the stock market as a casino.” data-reactid=”32″ type=”text”>Many see the trend as part of the narrative of retail traders, bored from a lack of sports and betting — potentially armed with stimulus money — to use the stock market as a casino.

told Bloomberg. ” data-reactid=”33″ type=”text”>“With the volatility, it is kind of like watching a sports game,” Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy, who has become a day trader, recently told Bloomberg

The latest trend of investing in bankrupt and otherwise distressed companies is standard day-trading on steroids. These investors appear not to be looking for long-term gains, but rather the chance that they will be on the winning side of wild volatility. In other words, they are speculating. 

NKLA) has seen a bigger surge. While J.C. Penney has been unavailable.” data-reactid=”36″ type=”text”>According to Robintrack, Hertz has been an especially hot stock for Robinhood users. Over the past week, the company has been the No. 2  most popular stock in portfolios. Only electric car company Nikola (NKLA) has seen a bigger surge. While J.C. Penney has been unavailable.

AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), but they’ve also consistently shown interest in stocks with low prices, like Ford (F) and GE (GE), which are currently the top two on the company’s popularity board. GoPro (GPRO) is also in the top 10. Hexo (HEXO), which is almost a penny stock at a dollar per share, is currently in more portfolios than Amazon (AMZN). The lower the price, the easier to trade.” data-reactid=”37″ type=”text”>Robinhood users may love mega cap stocks like Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), but they’ve also consistently shown interest in stocks with low prices, like Ford (F) and GE (GE), which are currently the top two on the company’s popularity board. GoPro (GPRO) is also in the top 10. Hexo (HEXO), which is almost a penny stock at a dollar per share, is currently in more portfolios than Amazon (AMZN). The lower the price, the easier to trade.

“Clearly there’s some speculative fever going on right now,” said Kathy Jones, Charles Schwab’s chief fixed income strategist. “Money is cheap trading is cheap, and this is what they’re doing.”

A huge profit in a day or week is sweet, but the volatility swings both ways, and just like how the house always wins, bankrupt companies often end with a loss — because they are literally bankrupt and have no money. 

There’s a reason why bankrupt companies aren’t worth much, and whoever ends up holding the bag may not want to. For those who are looking for a piece of a bankrupt company, investors are the last in line for any remaining asset value

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companies return

Only 13 companies have said they will return coronavirus small business loans – New York Post

April 27, 2020 | 10:15am | Updated April 27, 2020 | 2:24pm

A tiny fraction of the publicly traded companies that got coronavirus loans have pledged to give them back — despite urging from the feds and a public outcry, records show.

Just 13 public firms that received a combined $98.5 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program — which was meant to help Main Street merchants keep workers employed — have said they would return the loans as of early Monday afternoon, according to regulatory filings compiled by data-analysis firm FactSquared.

That suggests many of the 223 public companies that received so-called PPP loans will keep them — despite the Small Business Administration urging firms to repay them by May 7. Some companies may still be deciding whether to return their loans while others may have yet to publicly disclose their decision.

Companies returning funds include five big restaurant chains that qualified for the so-called PPP loans even though they each employ more than 1,000 people. The program allowed pandemic-battered restaurant companies to apply as long as they had no more than 500 employees at any one location.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, the company behind Ruth’s Chris Steak House, has pledged to return two loans worth $20 million while sit-down chain J. Alexander’s will return $15.1 million, SEC filings show. Fast-casual chains Shake Shack and Potbelly Sandwich Shop are each giving back $10 million and California-based Kura Sushi is returning $5.9 million.

Some lesser-known health care and biotechnology companies are also returning their loans. Among them is Wave Life Sciences, which got $7.2 million weeks after disclosing hefty losses and telling investors it could be “many years” before it had any products ready to sell, the Associated Press reported last week.

The other public companies returning PPP loans include:

  • IDT Corporation ($10 million)
  • Aquestive Therapeutics ($4.8 million)
  • OptiNose ($4.4 million)
  • Ultralife Corporation ($3.4 million)
  • Ballantyne Strong ($3.1 million)
  • BK Technologies Corporation ($2.1 million)
  • BioLife Solutions ($2.1 million)

Scores of public companies snagged at least $872 million in PPP loans as the program burned through its initial $349 billion budget in just two weeks, according to FactSquared data. The Small Business Administration started accepting loan applications again Monday morning after Congress approved $310 billion in new funding last week.

The US Treasury Department warned last week that public companies with “substantial market value and access to capital markets” would be unlikely to qualify for the program because they could not say “in good faith” that they needed the loans to keep operating amid the pandemic.

But firms run by one of the program’s biggest beneficiaries — hotel tycoon Monty Bennett — have no plans to give back the money. Bennett is tied to three publicly traded hotel companies that said they applied for $126 million in loans through various subsidiaries.

“The PPP program was specifically designed to help companies like ours as part of the national objective of shoring up businesses and getting people back to work,” the companies — Ashford Inc., Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemar Hotels & Resorts — said in a statement. “We … intend to use the PPP funds to do our part.”

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