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Verizon pulling advertising from Facebook and Instagram

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg speaks on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, October 22, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Verizon said on Thursday it is pulling advertising on Facebook until the company “can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.” 

A company spokesperson said the pause applies to both Facebook and Instagram. It comes as marketers including Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and REI have also said they plan to pause advertising on the platforms. 

Facebook’s stock was down nearly 2% Thursday evening. 

Last week, a group of six organizations called on Facebook advertisers to pause their spending on the social media platform during the month of July. The groups — the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense — asked “large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.” 

On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League addressed an open letter to companies advertising on Facebook, signed by the organization’s CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. In the letter, the organization said it “found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric, warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts.”

“We have strict content policies in place and have zero tolerance when they are breached, we take action,” Verizon’s chief media officer John Nitti said in a statement. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.”

Facebook didn’t immediately return a request for comment Thursday. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company sent a memo from the company’s VP of global business Carolyn Everson to advertisers last week saying that it does not “make policy changes tied to revenue pressure” and that it sets “policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

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