Marketing veteran and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is no stranger to tapping the power of social media to build a brand and get messages across.
At last count, the founder of VaynerMedia clocked in at more than 10 million followers between Instagram and Twitter. Vaynerchuk acknowledges the growing advertising backlash against hate content on Facebook, but says the social media giant is only one part of the issue.
“I had over seventy conversations with CMOs and CEOs about this over the last two weeks. And I asked them what they would like Facebook to change and not one, not one, was able to actually articulate what they were mad about other than following the headlines. And when you look at what people are mad about, I think Pinterest, Tumblr, Squarespace, WordPress, Google and Apple are going to have some conversations as well,” Vaynerchuk said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.
Indeed major brands are following the headlines on embattled Facebook right now.
Unilever, Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Yahoo Finance parent company Verizon have disclosed plans to pause advertising spend on Facebook’s platforms until founder Mark Zuckerberg lays out clear-cut measures to improve content policing. Constellation Brands — maker of Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine — told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday it has decided to halt spending on Facebook through July as well.
The decision comes as Constellation just purchased Vaynerchuk’s Empathy Wines brand, which has grown in large part because of the robust presence of its founder on social media.
“We have to start with the fact that we just categorically denounce racism, bigotry and any incendiary language that leads to violence and social injustice against the Black and African-American community, but also any underrepresented group,” Constellation Brands wine and spirits President Robert Hanson told The First Trade. Hanson said Constellation Brands has pledged $100 million over the next ten years to help minority-owned entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.
Hanson added, “We think business should be a source of economic opportunity. But frankly, a force for positive social change. And we will evaluate all our policies and make sure we’re on the right side of history on this issue and others.”
“If I go to Yahoo right now or Google right now and search hate content, there’s unlimited ads surrounding it. This needs to be a much more thoughtful conversation. We need to recognize that truth,” Vaynerchuk said.