At the heart of the policy changes is an admission that the company will continue to allow politicians and public figures to disseminate hate speech that does, in fact, violate Facebook's own guidelines - but it will add a label to denote they're remaining on the platform due to their "newsworthy" nature.
Unilever is halting all ad spending on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the USA through the end of the year, the company said, in a marked departure for a company that has avoided prior digital media boycotts.
"The polarized atmosphere places an increased responsibility on brands to build a trusted & safe digital ecosystem", the company tweeted as it joined United States telecom giant Verizon and sporting goods makers Patagonia, North Face and REI in the boycott. "We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary". The company also said it is increasing its enforcement capacity to remove false claims about local polling conditions in the 72 hours before the USA election.
Editor's note: Facebook and Unilever are among NPR's financial supporters.
Other major companies including Verizon have also bowed to the pressure exerted by these groups and have halted Facebook advertising in recent days. The move didn't take immediate effect.
The boycott, in theory, could pinch Facebook's profits since the company makes most of its money from ads targeted at the interests that more than 2 billion people share on its various services. Unilever's Seventh Generation brand, after a hiatus of several weeks, began running several ads on Facebook platforms earlier this week.
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The latest company to fall in line is household products company Unilever, which has one of the largest advertising budgets in the world.
The announcement comes amid a widening backlash by advertisers against Facebook who have accused the company of facilitating the spread of hate speech on the platform.
"We have developed policies and platform capabilities created to protect and serve the public conversation, and as always, are committed to amplifying voices from under-represented communities and marginalized groups", said Twitter executive Sarah Personette.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good". "We are respectful of our partners' decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time".
Everson has been making the case that this is an industry-wide issue.
According to NBC News, pressure was exerted on Unilever and other companies by a number of groups, including the NAACP, ADL, and "other groups such as Color of Change and Sleeping Giants, a group that targets advertisers that support certain right-wing content". "And you know often here, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest".
"We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action", New York-based Verizon said in a statement.