Marketers Reject Facebook Report


• The New York Times recently published a report detailing the failures at Facebook and advertisers seem to be rejecting this report. The Times stated that leading executives including the COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ignored significant problems in the company and even deflected blame for scandals surrounding the company in the past 18 months.

• The lack of concern over the company’s behavior from ad industry players contrasts the increasing concerns in the industry for transparency. Speaking to anonymous agency sources, Ad Age found that brands were not alarmed by the news and had not shifted their ad spending on the platform.

• Most sources only spoke anonymously but Anheuser-Busch InBev said it would still invest in Facebook, but it would be watching the company closely. The CEO of UM agency, Daryl Lee appeared to rebuke an unnamed source for the Times in a follow-up story that talked about the way advertisers reacted to the initial report. Rishad Tobaccowala, the Chief Officer for Growth at Publicis Groups, told the publication that Facebook had no integrity in its quest for growth. Lee, speaking to AdAge said that the question was not one of morality, but whether the company had what it needed to keep brands safe. Publicis and IPG are rival groups.


The Times report painted marketers to be unfazed by the [scandls](http://seem to be rejecting this report) that have followed Facebook in recent days, scandals which have increased cries in the industry for brand safety and transparency. It appears that the industry is not willing to take significant actions against Facebook even if the company fails to meet their demands often.

If marketers keep talking about transparency and emphasizing the need to force brands to pursue societal good but still keep spending money on Facebook ads, consumers could start to see them as inauthentic causing them to lose trust. Ad Age thinks that agencies are already feeling some of the heat. They occasionally find themselves at odds with Facebook fighting for brands, a fact which may explain why they are not shy about their frustrations.

After the report by the Times, Facebook established independent oversight. The company fueled conversations hinting for a potential need for change in the network’s leadership. The company announced plans to appeal to independent bodies to provide oversight for posts that violate its rules.

Facebook is still a top player in the ad industry. eMarketer expects the company to take up 20.6% of U.S digital ad market in 2019. In the last quarter of 2018, it reported an increase of 33% in revenue. Even if the rise fell short of analyst expectations, it was still an increase. Notably, the performance was the lowest the company ever increased in revenue growth in over half a decade. Facebook is planning to focus on ad formats like video and photo collages to drive growth in the future.

On the other hand, consumers are increasingly getting concerned about security and data privacy. More people are asking how platforms like Facebook use their data.

Last year, there was a 7% drop in the consumption of digital content across the company’s platforms including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The primary platform saw an increase in the number of users, but the use rates were low leading to a 20% decrease in the per person consumption rate.

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