Facebook postpones meetings with advertisers over Trump ban decision

  • Facebook postponed scheduled meetings between advertisers and its policy team this week.
  • The meetings were scheduled to discuss his supervisory board’s decision on Trump’s suspension.
  • The Supervisory Board decided on Wednesday to confirm Facebook’s suspension of Trump in January.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Facebook has postponed meetings between advertising companies and clients and its political team to discuss its supervisory board’s decision to suspend former President Donald Trump, agency executives told Insider.

“In light of the Council’s decision that has been shared, we will now carefully consider their guidance and craft a clear and proportionate response,” read a note obtained by Insider that Facebook sent to the agencies. “Accordingly, we believe it is best to postpone our call scheduled for Friday until we have more concrete information to share.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed she was rescheduling the meetings, which the Wall Street Journal said were scheduled for Friday, but did not say until when.

“Like Nick [Clegg, Facebook spokesman] said in his statement, we will now take the time to carefully review the reviews and recommendations and respond to them in a timely manner. In view of this, we have decided to postpone these calls until we have more concrete information to share, ”the spokesperson said.

The Supervisory Board, which Facebook created late last year to give more attention and resources to its content moderation decisions, confirmed its suspension of Trump’s account on Wednesday, but said the company had to review his decision within six months. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have suspended Trump for his remarks related to the Jan.6 Capitol siege.

The board’s decision surprised some advertising executives as they expected the board to align with Facebook’s resistance to take a stand on free speech issues.

These executives speculated that Facebook canceled the meetings because it did not expect the board to return the final decision to the company.

“I think they started to see all the questions and thoughts of clients and agency partners and they were like, ‘Wait,’” said one executive.

Some advertising executives said they approved of the Supervisory Board’s decision.

“We are pleased to see Facebook’s decision to suspend Trump confirmed by the Supervisory Board,” said Daryl Lee, CEO of Mediabrands. “Advertisers don’t want their brands in an environment dominated by a public figure inciting violence and spreading disinformation.”

Advertisers should also continue to push for clearer content moderation policies from Facebook. One said he would ask for more control over how his ads appear in news feeds, an ability Facebook started testing with advertisers in January.

“It’s important that a crucial question raised by today’s decision not be buried in the headlines, and that is who ‘owns’ a social feed? Is the user seeing the feed, or the platform that generates it? ” said Ben Hovaness, senior vice president of market intelligence at Omnicom Media Group. “We believe that giving users more control over what appears in their social feeds will reduce the intensity of the debate around objectionable speech on social platforms.”

Facebook needs a clearer policy on how many strikes or warnings a person receives before being suspended and a clearer definition of notoriety, said Joshua Lowcock, US digital director at UM and Global Head of Brand Safety at Mediabrands.

“To be ad-supported platforms need content moderation or really good brand safety checks – so Facebook needs to tighten up its policy,” Lowcock said. “Especially the notoriety loophole, it has become a catch-all for Facebook’s quicksand because of their lack of politics. Some content is allowed to surface for brand awareness, and some is not.”

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