KO - The Coca-Cola Company

NYSE - Nasdaq Real Time Price. Currency in USD
+0.49 (+1.09%)
As of 3:37PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous Close45.25
Bid45.73 x 1800
Ask45.74 x 1300
Day's Range44.67 - 45.82
52 Week Range36.27 - 60.13
Avg. Volume18,119,055
Market Cap196.47B
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.54
PE Ratio (TTM)19.72
EPS (TTM)2.32
Earnings DateJul. 21, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield1.64 (3.62%)
Ex-Dividend DateJun. 12, 2020
1y Target Est52.47
  • Pepsi Proves Again Why It's a Better Stock Than Coke
    Motley Fool

    Pepsi Proves Again Why It's a Better Stock Than Coke

    During a pandemic-ridden period, Pepsi's performance slipped from a year ago but still topped the analyst mark. Profits fell as COVID-19 led to additional expenses, and Pepsi's performance was challenged in beverages. CEO Ramon Laguarta said: "Despite being faced with significant challenges and complexities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our businesses performed relatively well during the quarter, with a notable level of resiliency in our global snacks and foods business."

  • Buffett Has Gained $108 Billion on These 5 Stocks
    Motley Fool

    Buffett Has Gained $108 Billion on These 5 Stocks

    In recent years, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A)(NYSE: BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett has taken a lot of criticism for underperforming the benchmark S&P 500. According to Berkshire Hathaway's 2019 shareholder letter, the broad-based S&P 500 has gained a cool 19,784%, including dividends paid, over the past 55 years. Comparatively, Berkshire Hathaway's per-share market gain has totaled (drum roll) 2,744,062% over the same period.

  • PepsiCo will return to social media advertising when they better manage hate speech: CFO
    Yahoo Finance

    PepsiCo will return to social media advertising when they better manage hate speech: CFO

    PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston discusses the company's decision on spending on social media platforms.

  • Trump Outpaces Biden in Zeroing In on Voters With Facebook Tools

    Trump Outpaces Biden in Zeroing In on Voters With Facebook Tools

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump uses Facebook like a Swiss Army knife -- to raise money, amplify his message, and mobilize voters. His rival, Joe Biden, uses the increasingly controversial social platform primarily to stick his hand out for donations.As he did in 2016, Trump is taking advantage of the social media giant’s granular knowledge of its users’ interests to target specific ads to specific people, and is doing so much more often than Biden. This “micro-targeting” allows Trump to tap into Facebook’s unique ability to rally his base of voters, who he needs to motivate as he trails Biden in most election polls.Since entering the presidential contest in April 2019, Biden has spent $21 million on Facebook ads compared to $33 million for Trump over the same period, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But the two campaigns are spending the money very differently.On Friday, people familiar with the company’s thinking said Facebook was considering banning political ads ahead of the U.S. election, but for now it still allows candidates to narrowly target voters using its data.Micro-targeting is using all the data social networks have on a user, from location to political leaning to what brands they buy, to generate the perfect ad.Twitter Ad BanGoogle has limited how political campaigns can target voters using its digital ad sales platform, and Twitter has banned campaign ads altogether. Twitter said it did so because of the potential for ads to spread misleading information, while Google said its policy means ads are more widely viewed and available for public discussion like ones airing on television and radio are.Facebook has also taken only limited steps to ban hate speech that infiltrates some users feeds, which has led some large companies like Unilever NV, Coca-Cola Co. and Starbucks Corp. to temporarily pull their ad dollars from the site.Users can be targeted based on all kinds of information, including search and travel history. And the ads can be tweaked over time to make them more effective. The Trump campaign does constant testing of its ads and makes small changes on a daily basis.Through the morning of July 8 Biden’s campaign had bought about 23,000 distinct ads on the platform compared to more than 489,000 for Trump, according to a Bloomberg analysis of data made available by Facebook. About 68% of the president’s ads are seen fewer than 1,000 times compared to 34% for Biden, suggesting much more specific micro-targeting by Trump’s campaign.Petition DrivesBiden’s campaign is focused on raising money and attacking Trump. So far he hasn’t used Facebook to hone his message or mobilize supporters, but he’s included appeals to sign petitions, which help him build up his list of email contacts, and to donate. Recent pitches asked for 2.5 million supporters to take a stand against Trump’s “hatred, division and calls for violence” by signing an online petition.Offering less variation in his Facebook ads could hurt Biden’s efforts to reach the voters he needs, said Damon McCoy, director of the Online Political Ads Transparency Project and a professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. “It’s probably causing them to be less effective,” he said, because the campaign isn’t getting the same level of audience feedback.Trump’s campaign used Facebook in February to motivate voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, even as he was virtually unopposed in those state’s Republican nominating contests. The campaign put out almost 1,200 ads, which included links to find caucus or polling locations, that were seen between 1.4 million and 2.8 million times.Voter TurnoutTrump ran away with both contests, getting support of 97% of caucus-goers in Iowa and turning out 2.6 times more voters in New Hampshire than Barack Obama, another incumbent without a serious primary challenger, did in 2012. Trump used the outcome as evidence of the strength of his support.According to Facebook, which provides data on impressions, cost and other metrics in broad ranges, the total cost of the messaging was between $18,800 and $139,406.The focus on targeted ads likely helped Trump gain a big lead in early fund-raising, according to Will Bunnett, a principal at the progressive digital ad agency Clarify. But Trump may have another advantage over Biden in using the platform, he said, because of the way Facebook’s algorithm puts ads in front of people who’ll interact with them, often by getting riled up.“The easiest way to get people to interact with your ads is to get them mad about something,” Bunnett said. “Facebook is a pretty natural fit for him in a way that it might not be for Joe Biden.”Trump’s PreoccupationsA senior Trump campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the campaign was constantly testing “thousands upon thousands” of ads so voters “are hearing the facts about this president.”The Biden campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.Some of Trump’s Facebook ads reflect his rhetoric and preoccupations.There are more than 50,000 ads mentioning “impeachment,” preceded by the word “bogus” more than 1,000 times, followed by “witch hunt” more than 4,000 times. About 40,000 ads refer to “fake news.”Old campaign themes like “build the wall” and “drain the swamp” mingle with concerns about Antifa, a loosely-defined left-wing movement Trump said was involved in the June street protests, and which appears in more than 2,000 ads. Attacks on calls to “defund the police” have been in 715 ads so far, since the term made its debut in a June 19 fund-raising pitch.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Pepsi Earnings: 3 Trends to Watch
    Motley Fool

    Pepsi Earnings: 3 Trends to Watch

    Pepsi's (NASDAQ: PEP) status as a bedrock beverage and snack food seller usually makes it a favorite stock for investors during tough economic times. Drinking occasions for brands like Pepsi and Gatorade have plummeted due to the postponement of sporting events, concerts, and most other large social gatherings. Pepsi's last announcement showed strong growth, with organic sales jumping 8% as core earnings expanded 10%.

  • Facebook is operating like a public utility and has 'huge blind spots': NAACP CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    Facebook is operating like a public utility and has 'huge blind spots': NAACP CEO

    Does Facebook have a culture problem? NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson weighs in.

  • We met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg and we got nothing: NAACP CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    We met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg and we got nothing: NAACP CEO

    Yahoo Finance speaks with NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson about Facebook's misinformation problems.

  • Facebook Scorned by Advocacy Groups After Zuckerberg Meeting

    Facebook Scorned by Advocacy Groups After Zuckerberg Meeting

    (Bloomberg) -- Civil rights organizations criticized Facebook Inc. following a meeting with top executives Tuesday, claiming the company hasn’t taken seriously demands to better police its service from hate speech and misinformation.“Facebook approached our meeting today like it was nothing more than a PR exercise,” Jessica González, co-chief executive officer of Free Press, a non-profit media advocacy group, said in a statement following the meeting. “I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook still refuses to hold itself accountable to its users, its advertisers and society at large.”Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also met with members of the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, who have organized a boycott of the company’s advertising products in seeking to prompt change. The executives didn’t “commit to a timeline” to remove disinformation and hate speech, Gonzalez said, but instead “delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands.”“The meeting we just left was a disappointment,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, on a call with reporters.The forum, which lasted about an hour and was held over video conference, was intended to be a venue to discuss proposed solutions to making the Facebook platform less toxic, such as adding executives with civil rights experience to its top ranks and fact-checking political speech, among other changes.“Today we saw little and heard just about nothing,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, who was in the meeting. “The company is functionally flawed.”Since the groups called for the boycott, hundreds of advertisers, including well-known brands such as Unilever NV, Verizon Communications Inc., and Coca-Cola Co., have announced plans to pull advertising from Facebook’s properties over criticism the company doesn’t do enough to police user content. As the boycott grew, Facebook approached the civil rights organizations about a meeting, though the groups refused to meet without Zuckerberg in attendance.“They want Facebook to be free of hate speech and so do we,” Facebook said in a statement following the meeting. The company pointed to efforts it has made in recent years, including a mention of an audit of its policies and practices and noting that it has spent billions of dollars building systems to police its service. “We know we will be judged by our actions not by our words and are grateful to these groups and many others for their continued engagement.”Facebook has defended its attempts to fight hate speech and voter suppression in emails and phone calls with advertisers, talking up the company’s automated systems which find and remove these kinds of posts automatically. The company has also highlighted a voter registration initiative through which it hopes to register 4 million voters before the 2020 election.Greenblatt described Facebook’s claim that it catches 89% of hate speech automatically as an unacceptable number. “The Ford Motor Co. can’t say that 89% of our fleet has seatbelts that work,” he said, adding that it would require a recall. “Maybe it’s time we recall Facebook Groups? Maybe it’s time we recall the News Feed?”Another topic of discussion on the call was the civil rights audit of Facebook’s policies, which the company first started in mid-2018. Facebook, which has said it will publish the full report Wednesday, previewed some of the results with the civil rights groups during the meeting. The audit was carried out by a third party, meaning the results are independent of Facebook, but also that they are less likely to lead to change, Robinson said.“What we get is recommendations that they end up not implementing,” he added. Facebook will make some changes to add “long term civil rights infrastructure” to the company, but Robinson said the details were still “unclear.”What was clear from the outset was that the two sides wouldn’t likely come to a resolution on Tuesday. In a post before the meeting started, Sandberg acknowledged that Facebook needs to do more to fight hate speech, but also said that the company is unlikely to implement all the recommendations from the civil rights audit.The civil rights groups said that their fight with Facebook is far from over. “I believe this campaign will continue to grow,” Greenblatt said. “It will get more global, it will get more intense until we get the answers that I think we are looking for.”(Updates with more details from meeting starting from sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook has an incredible challenge in front of it: Goldman Sachs strategist
    Yahoo Finance

    Facebook has an incredible challenge in front of it: Goldman Sachs strategist

    Facebook won't overcome the yawning advertiser revolt in response to hate content overnight, suggests a Goldman Sachs strategist that specializes in tech investing.

  • Why Coca-Cola Stock Has Fallen 19% So Far in 2020
    Motley Fool

    Why Coca-Cola Stock Has Fallen 19% So Far in 2020

    What happened Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) stock is trailing the market this year. Shares have fallen 19% compared to a 4% decline in the S&P 500 through the end of June, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

  • Facebook Helps Explain Why ESG Investing Matters

    Facebook Helps Explain Why ESG Investing Matters

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you’re not clear on Environmental, Social and Governance investing, you’re not alone. The Department of Labor appears to be just as confused. Luckily, Facebook Inc. may serve as an example to help clarify the burgeoning investing movement. The Labor Department issued a proposed rule recently that is being widely interpreted as a ban on ESG investing in retirement accounts. A news release said the rule “is intended to provide clear regulatory guideposts” for corporate pensions and 401(k) plans around ESG investing. What it’s actually doing, however, is sowing utter confusion.  “Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. But ESG has nothing to do with furthering social goals or policy objectives. By definition, ESG investing is strictly a financial endeavor, an attempt to improve the performance of portfolios by limiting their exposure to companies whose environmental, social or governance policies, or lack of them, are deemed risky. In that regard, it’s no different from striking a balance between stocks and bonds, investment-grade bonds and junk, stocks of large and small companies, or any number of decisions investors routinely make to manage risk and attempt to boost risk-adjusted returns. Consider Facebook. The social media behemoth has problems. A growing number of big corporate advertisers such as Coca-Cola Co., Starbucks Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are pulling their ads, fearing they might appear alongside hate speech, misinformation and other divisive content routinely posted on the platform. Facebook also faces a slew of antitrust inquiries from Congress, the Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general, as well as increasing bipartisan calls to remove legal protections that limit the company’s liability over content posted by users. Complaints about Facebook aren’t new. There have been widespread concerns about how the company handles user data since at least 2018, when news surfaced that Cambridge Analytica had obtained personal data of up to 87 million users. But Facebook has largely ignored its critics, mainly because co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg controls the company and doesn’t appear to share the concerns, at least not enough to do anything meaningful about them. So far, Zuckerberg has made mostly symbolic gestures, such as rolling out a new voter information hub and agreeing to meet with civil rights groups who organized the advertising boycott. Zuckerberg no doubt prefers to wield absolute power, but it’s a risky proposition for Facebook’s shareholders. There is growing evidence that companies with strong governance generally perform better and are less likely to fail than those with weak governance, which also makes them a less volatile and better-performing investment over time. The best ones have policies that hold management accountable and balance the competing demands of shareholders, creditors, workers, suppliers, customers and regulators. Suffice it to say, while Zuckerberg is on the throne, Facebook has few of those checks and balances.That’s a problem because Zuckerberg is the sole arbiter of what is and isn’t a hazard for Facebook, even if all indications are to the contrary. And clearly, not everyone at the company agrees with Zuckerberg’s sanguine outlook. Facebook employees recently staged a virtual walkout, and some senior figures publicly expressed their disapproval of Zuckerberg’s laissez-faire approach to policing content. If there were a greater diversity of opinion in Facebook’s decision-making process, perhaps it would have been more attune to the many threats it now faces.    The risk posed by Facebook’s strongman governance is the “G” in ESG. Not surprisingly, Facebook receives poor marks for governance. Institutional Shareholder Services, a leading provider of ESG ratings, gives Facebook a 10 for governance, the highest risk score on its 10-point scale. And according to various governance metrics tracked by Bloomberg, such as percentage of independent directors and board size, governance has weakened at Facebook over the last decade. For investors worried about the governance risk around Facebook, reducing their exposure to the company, or even eliminating it entirely, is a reasonable financial move — one that is consistent with, in fact prescribed by, the Labor Department’s “longstanding position” that retirement plans “select investments and investment courses of action based on financial considerations relevant to the risk-adjusted economic value of a particular investment.” It’s also the essence of ESG.Scalia and the Labor Department appear to confuse ESG with what would more accurately be called socially responsible investing, or SRI, which attempts to align investors’ portfolios with their values by excluding companies and industries that conflict with those values, regardless of financial impact. It’s no less odd that the Labor Department wants to ban SRI. While I suspect SRI investors will pay a price for mixing their money and their values, there’s little evidence so far that SRI is a drag on portfolios or that it would undermine the “retirement security of American workers,” as Scalia seems to fear. So if 401(k) participants and pension beneficiaries want their money aligned with their conscience, it’s not clear why the Labor Department should stand in the way, particularly when it’s part of an administration that professes devotion to deregulation, small government and religious freedom. But at the very least, the Labor Department should clarify that it’s targeting SRI, not ESG.If the rule stands, one silver lining is that it might promote a clearer separation between ESG and SRI, which would help investors navigate the growing social investing landscape. Funds that blend the two are a particular source of confusion. The iShares ESG MSCI USA ETF, for example, both invests in stocks with strong ESG scores and excludes tobacco and weapons companies. The Labor Department’s proposed rule would presumably disqualify it from inclusion in retirement plans, and thereby discourage more funds from mixing ESG and SRI.  However the rule shakes out, one thing should be clear: When ESG takes issue with companies such as Facebook, it’s about money, not values. If the Labor Department finds that confusing, imagine how ordinary investors must feel.  This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nir Kaissar is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the markets. He is the founder of Unison Advisors, an asset management firm. He has worked as a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell and a consultant at Ernst & Young. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Coca-Cola Shuts Down Its Odwalla Juice Brand, Eliminates Refrigerated Trucking
    Motley Fool

    Coca-Cola Shuts Down Its Odwalla Juice Brand, Eliminates Refrigerated Trucking

    After spending several years evaluating its Odwalla brand of juice in an effort to find a way to make it profitable, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) announced that it is closing down the brand permanently. The move will end slightly less than 19 years of Coca-Cola ownership of the brand, which it acquired in October 2001 for $181 million. At the time, John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, called the acquisition "a very smart deal for Coke," while Odwalla CEO Stephen Williamson remarked that "the entrepreneurial spirit of Odwalla will be nurtured by the opportunity for growth that this new relationship presents."

  • Gary Vaynerchuk: Most advertisers don't know what they want Facebook to do about hate speech
    Yahoo Finance

    Gary Vaynerchuk: Most advertisers don't know what they want Facebook to do about hate speech

    Marketing veteran and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk weighs in on the controversy swirling around Facebook.

  • Facebook may be headed to the 'graveyard of dinosaurs': former Unilever CEO
    Yahoo Finance

    Facebook may be headed to the 'graveyard of dinosaurs': former Unilever CEO

    Imagine co-founder and former long-time Unilever CEO Paul Polman speaks out on Facebook's recent actions.

  • Reuters

    COLUMN-One hundred years of certitude? FAANG-like century bonds clean up: Mike Dolan

    Investors who snapped up Austria's first "century bond" three years ago would have so far doubled their money, outpacing the racy Nasdaq composite with a total return of 101% in dollar terms. Last week, Austria received orders of almost 10 times more than it needed for a brand new 100-year bond, paying an annual coupon of just 0.85%, which was less than half the previous one. In price terms, Austria's 100-year bond from 2017 has matched the stargazing NYFANG+TM index, which includes the FAANGs of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet.

  • Reuters

    REFILE-Facebook frustrates advertisers as boycott over hate speech kicks off

    Advertisements for more than 400 brands including Coca-Cola and Starbucks are due to vanish from Facebook on Wednesday, after the failure of last-ditch talks to stop a boycott over hate speech on the site. U.S. civil rights groups have enlisted the multinationals to help pressure the social media giant into taking concrete steps to block hate speech in the wake of the death of George Floyd and amid a national reckoning over racism.. Facebook executives including Carolyn Everson, vice president of global business solutions, and Neil Potts, public policy director, held at least two meetings with advertisers on Tuesday, the eve of the planned one-month boycott, three sources who participated in the calls told Reuters.

  • Facebook Critics Target One Thing CEO Won’t Cede: Control

    Facebook Critics Target One Thing CEO Won’t Cede: Control

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg took the unusual step on Friday of publicly broadcasting a weekly Q&A with employees. Over a live video feed, the CEO announced a series of updates to Facebook’s policies around hate speech -- the central topic fueling a growing boycott of Facebook advertising.But the new policies, like labeling posts from public figures who break its terms of service, didn’t assuage critics. The coalition of civil rights groups organizing the boycott called the announcement “a small number of small changes.” Demands like adding a high-ranking executive focused on civil rights, providing face-to-face customer service for hate speech victims and removing extra protections for elected leaders were still unmet.And, though it wasn’t officially included on their public list of proposed changes, the boycott organizers also have a more fundamental complaint: Zuckerberg has too much control.“Mark Zuckerberg has way too much power for a company of this size and reach,” said Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, one of the boycott’s organizers. “He is the one that is blocking progress in this moment.”Zuckerberg, who famously co-founded Facebook as a student before dropping out of Harvard University, has always been the most important person at the company, partly thanks to his out-sized control of its board. Recently, he has consolidated even more power. Since 2018 the founders of Facebook’s other properties, like Instagram and WhatsApp, have left the company, giving Zuckerberg more say over its product empire. And a number of board members -- including former Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann and former American Express Co. CEO Kenneth Chenault -- departed in the past two years, many of them over frustrations with Facebook’s corporate governance, according to the Wall Street Journal.For some, the lack of dissenting voices within and around Facebook is worrying. “This behemoth of a company, that’s operating more as a public utility, must be more accountable,” said NAACP CEO and boycott organizer Derrick Johnson.Zuckerberg is not the only important executive at the company. He has long relied on Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to run Facebook’s business and policy divisions, and he has a number of top executives who advise him. But unlike Twitter Inc., which goes out of its way to say that CEO Jack Dorsey does not make content decisions, Zuckerberg is clearly the final say on all things Facebook.“The way decisions escalate in Facebook are very much what you’d expect in any complex organization where there was a hierarchy,” Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for global affairs and communications, told reporters earlier this month. “For the most difficult decisions, there’s one ultimate decision maker, our CEO and Chair and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg.”As Facebook’s advertising boycott has grown to include household names like Starbucks Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever, the social network has fought back with an information campaign intended to demonstrate how much the company already does to fight hate online. Facebook has repeated a series of statistics in interviews and in emails to advertising partners, including that the company detects 90% of the hate speech it removes from the platform before any user even flags it.The company has also been touting a voting information campaign announced earlier this month with the goal of registering 4 million new U.S. voters before the 2020 presidential election. On Friday, Facebook said it would arrange a third-party audit of its quarterly report detailing how much content it takes down for rules violations.But so far, the piecemeal changes have done little to placate the company’s critics. “It’s unclear what the perfect solution is,” said Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Bernstein Securities. “There’s no kind of silver bullet here to fix it -- it’s a very broad, ambiguous problem.”On the larger issues, Facebook has shown little sign of relenting. Diminishing Zuckerberg’s control over the company is almost entirely out of the question. Repeated shareholder proposals to change Facebook’s voting structure or replace Zuckerberg as chairman have failed to clear the company’s board because Zuckerberg himself has voted against them -- the CEO has almost 60% of the vote thanks to a special class of shares unavailable to public investors. The arrangement has raised the question of who, specifically, Zuckerberg is accountable to.“This is where you have a runaway train,” the NAACP’s Johnson said on Monday on Bloomberg Television. “And that runaway train is causing harm to the public and it’s causing harm to our democracy.”The group calling for a Facebook boycott has several demands around removing hateful content that could prove difficult for the company to adhere to. Facebook said it’s already doing the best it can to find and remove posts promoting hate. In an interview on Bloomberg Television Monday, Clegg said Facebook does not profit off hate speech, and that it had an “industry-leading record” when it came to dealing with issues related to the “dark side of the internet.”But Clegg added: “I don’t want to pretend this is an easy straightforward task, that there is a switch we can flick and all hate speech suddenly disappears.”Hate has always been a problem for open platforms, in part because it’s difficult to define. In some cases, a post that clearly appears to be a rules violation to some people, is considered allowable by others. This dynamic played out late last month after a series of posts from President Trump struck many as a clear threat of violence. However, Zuckerberg said the posts were not actually a violation of Facebook’s policies. The posts remained up and untouched, even though Twitter flagged the same language.At Color of Change, Hatch understands that the social network, with more than 2 billion monthly users, probably cannot remove hate speech entirely, but she believes Facebook can do more within its current structure. “Certainly when things are flagged they need to be removed, and certainly when things are coming from the current president or an elected official, it needs to be removed,” Hatch said.Even though the boycott has trimmed billions off Facebook’s market capitalization, it’s not clear how much influence advertisers will have over the company’s processes. Some of the participating companies are heavy spenders, including Starbucks and Unilever, who together spent more than $30 million on Facebook ads during the first six months of the year, according to Pathmatics, a digital marketing analytics company. However, that’s a small amount compared with the almost $35 billion in sales Facebook is projected to report for the same six-month period.The vast majority of the company’s advertisers are small businesses, not name-brand marketers. Smaller companies rely on Facebook’s direct response ads, which drive specific outcomes like a website visit or an app install. Facebook’s top 100 advertisers accounted for roughly $4.2 billion in sales revenue last year, Pathmatics estimates, or just 6% of all Facebook revenue. So far, only a handful of the company’s 100 top-spending advertisers from 2019 are pulling money from Facebook ads.“As important as these advertisers are to Facebook, it would likely take a far broader advertising boycott over a longer period of time to materially impact Facebook’s ad revenue,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analysts wrote Monday in a note to investors. Facebook stock ended the day Monday up 2.1% despite the new additions to the ad holdout.Facebook will have more opportunities to try to alleviate concern this week in a series of meetings, including a round table discussion with advertisers and Facebook executives on Tuesday. Color of Change would also like to meet with Facebook this week -- but the group is holding out unless Zuckerberg also attends, a spokesperson said. It’s possible that the boycott, which is formally running through July, could extend further depending on how Facebook responds, Hatch said.“It’s definitely a live, dynamic campaign,” she said. “We’re hopeful we won’t have to make any further adjustments or asks. But that’s up to Facebook really.”(Updates with details on Color of Change meeting in 21st paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    Facebook agrees to audit its hate speech controls

    Facebook Inc said on Monday it would submit itself to an audit of how it controls hate speech in a bid to appease a growing advertising boycott of the platform, as it prepared to address a group of advertisers on Tuesday. The move comes as major advertisers such as Unilever and Starbucks have signed on to the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign started by U.S. civil rights groups, which urges brands to pause their Facebook ads in July to pressure the social media giant to do more to take down hate speech. Media Rating Council (MRC), a media measurement firm, will conduct the audit to evaluate how it protects advertisers from appearing next to harmful content and the accuracy of Facebook's reporting in certain areas.