Inside Bar (Bearish)
|Bid||44.90 x 1300|
|Ask||44.99 x 3000|
|Day's Range||44.80 - 45.43|
|52 Week Range||36.27 - 60.13|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.55|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||19.34|
|Earnings Date||Jul 21, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.64 (3.65%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Jun 12, 2020|
|1y Target Est||52.32|
Looking at the stock market today, the first thought that comes to mind is that it is divorced from economic reality Continue reading...
Consumer brands across all categories are now in the spotlight as to where they stand on social issues. Then, just as businesses were starting to get back to their regularly scheduled marketing, the wave of long-overdue protests and conversations began in support of Black Lives Matter. Consumers expect transparency, accountability, and action.
China's disciplined approach in isolating and treating those infected with the novel coronavirus allowed the country to re-open sooner. The rest of the world is following China's lead. As the world economy restarts, international stocks will fare the best. Its geographic diversity will work in its favor as strong growth in re-opened countries offsets a temporary shutdown in other places.Savvy investors may build a geographically diversified portfolio, but that is not easy. There are currency exchange rate risks to consider. So, buying worldwide conglomerates may pay off in the long-run. Plus, investors get the benefit of spreading out risks.There are seven international stocks to buy as the world economy restarts:InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips* The Unilever Group (NYSE:UL)* The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG)* Alibaba (NYSE:BABA)* Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)* Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM)* Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB)* AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) * 7 Utilities Stocks to Buy With Reassuring Dividends Together, these international stocks give investors exposure to a wide variety of sectors. Consumer goods, e-commerce, automotive, and drug manufacturing all have their growth potential. Plus, a re-start will accelerate the near-term growth of companies in their respective markets. Unilever Group (UL)Source: Wright Studio/Shutterstock.com First up on this list of international stocks is Unilever. The Unilever Group is in the news after joining other firms in boycotting ad spending on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) for the rest of the year. This is an unfortunate decision and does signal some risks in holding UL stock. The company reported flat sales growth in the first quarter due to the stay-at-home order. But stockpiling last quarter and the re-opening should lift results.In Q1, Unilever signaled its confidence in its cash flow growth by keeping its dividend levels. As consumers return to stores, Unilever's sales should recover. Still, the company must adjust to the ever-lasting impact of people staying at home. So, instead of relying on ice cream and food that restaurants and cafes buy, the company needs to pivot.Unilever stock has a strong overall rating. As a bonus, the stock offers a good dividend for income investors.Source: Data courtesy of Stock Rover Increasing its focus on laundry detergents, hand sanitizers, and soap products should give profit margins a lift. In the near-term, expect a better entry point approaching. Analysts have a $48.42 price target (according to Tipranks). And if more restaurants are open, Unilever's sales should bounce back in the next quarter. The Procter & Gamble Company (PG)Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com Procter & Gamble's priority of ensuring the health and safety of everyone around the world already makes the company a recession-proof holding. Looking ahead, family demands for maintaining health, hygiene, and cleaning will only grow. The devastating virulence of the coronavirus will only increase such needs.In the first quarter, P&G increased its dividend by 6% to about 79 cents a share. And as consumers choose their brands first, sales will increase as people slowly return to their normal lives. From fiscal 2012 to Fiscal 2016, P&G created $10 billion worth of growth and value. It will repeat that feat from the fiscal year 2017 to 2021.By disrupting the market, the company comes out ahead in a variety of sectors. This includes beauty, grooming, family care, and health care.According to Stock Rover, PG stock is worth $160.53. It scores well on quality.PG Industry S&P 500 Quality Score 87 61 79 Gross Margin 49.90% 38.50% 29.10% Operating Margin 21.90% 18.60% 13.20% Net Margin 7.10% 10.10% 8.70% Data courtesy of Stock Rover * 9 Florida Stocks to Avoid as Coronavirus Rates Spike Expect P&G to expand its operating margin as the economic rebound unfolds. Its net margin could exceed that of the industry next. Alibaba (BABA)Source: Colin Hui / Shutterstock.com Alibaba still trades at a discount. The strong growth in e-commerce every quarter suggests that markets continue to underestimate their potential. With China leading the economy's reopening, Alibaba's digital economy business will expand. In the fourth quarter, Alibaba's digital economy gross merchant volume exceeded $1 trillion (slide 3). It now has 960 million global annual active customers (AAC).Investors may forecast Alibaba's revenue growing by at least 17% or higher in the next five years annually. With the following input, Alibaba stock has a fair value of $265.42.Source: Data courtesy of finbox At 780 million China and 180 million international AAC, Alibaba is in a strong position to grow its market share. Plus, consumers will spend more time buying things online. Furthermore, the e-commerce giant has a chance to increase its food and grocery business as customers grow accustomed to buying these goods online.In the cloud computing space, Alibaba Cloud continues to benefit from the increasing demand for video content consumption. Remote working and learning also lifted demand.At a price-to-earnings (P/E) below 30 times, BABA stock has an excellent growth profile against its deep value. Coca-Cola Company (KO)Source: Fotazdymak / Shutterstock.com Just as Unilever cut its ad spending, Coca-Cola said it would do the same. The pop drink supplier is pausing all social media ad spending for July. Again, this suggests that the company's revenue growth is slowing and that its ads are not effective in reversing that decline.KO stock lost nearly one-third of its value in the last five years:Chart courtesy of Stock RoverAccording to Tipranks, analysts have a $51.40 price target. At an 8% discount rate, a 5-year discounted cash flow model would arrive at a similar fair value.Source: Data courtesy of finbox The economy's restart should put KO stock in firmer territory as it cuts unnecessary spending. And as sales recover, profits will expand at a better pace than ever. Collectively, beverage companies "spent over a billion dollars to advertise sugary drinks and energy drinks in 2018." So, strong brand recognition should lead to continued double-digit sales of Coca-Cola products despite the ad spending freeze. * 10 Value Stocks to Keep on Your Short List At a price-to-earnings below 20 times, Coca-Cola shares are too cheap to ignore, especially as international markets reopen. Toyota Motor (TM)Source: josefkubes / Shutterstock.com Automotive companies faced slumping sales at the height of the pandemic-driven lockdown. The easing should lead to a rebound in sales. International stocks like Toyota Motor not only trade at favorable valuations of around 10 times earnings, but have a good performance record.Toyota makes reliable cars that require minimal maintenance. Those who have to go to work and want to avoid public transportation will want to buy a Toyota.Still, Toyota's sales rebound will not happen until after July at the earliest. The company forecasts a 10% drop in production volume in July. This is a solid improvement from the 40% decrease in June. As global demand recovers, domestic production will bounce back. Toyota forecasts sales will recover to last year's levels by the end of 2020. Kimberly-Clark (KMB)Source: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com In a long-term trading range of $130 - $145, Kimberly-Clark stock is ready to break out to the upside. In the first quarter, the company posted non-GAAP earnings of $2.13 a share. Revenue grew 8.2% from last year.KMB stock held up well because of the crazed demand for toilet paper in the last quarter. Looking ahead, the company has a few priorities that will sustain its growth. In addition to protecting the health and safety of its employees and customers, it will manage its global supply chain and manage the business for volatility.For instance, CEO Mike Hsu said: "Like other companies, we haven't significantly pared back our SKU count, and that we've done that in partnership with our customers, who have been very supportive along that journey. And that has increased our theoretical capacity because we have fewer changeovers and less complexity in the plants." * 5 Penny Stocks Under $10 to Buy in June By running efficiently, KMB shares could bounce higher as demand patterns recover in places like Asia, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. AstraZeneca (AZN)Source: Shutterstock Last on this list of international stocks is AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca is not only an international stock idea but it is also a coronavirus vaccine play. The company signed a $127 million deal to produce an experimental vaccine for the Brazilian government. The country will receive material to produce 30.4 million doses later this year. The deal will bring 100 million vaccines. This accounts for nearly half of Brazil's residents. AstraZeneca will transfer the technology if the vaccine works.Brazil is one of the hardest-hit countries of the virus and has more than a million confirmed cases.The company's AZD1222 vaccine is a co-development with the University of Oxford. Italy's pharma giant, Catalent, will manufacture the drug starting in August 2020.AstraZeneca shared its data on three cancer studies. Tagrisso, which treats adjuvant lung cancer, is in Phase III. Imfinzi is in Phase III and treats extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. And Enhertu is in Phase II trials in gastric, lung, and colorectal cancers.On Stock Rover, AZN stock has an 87/100 score on quality. Its gross margin is 49.9% and may potentially rise as the economy re-opens.As of this writing, the author did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG * America's 1 Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * Revolutionary Tech Behind 5G Rollout Is Being Pioneered By This 1 Company * Radical New Battery Could Dismantle Oil Markets The post 7 International Stocks to Buy as the World Economy Restarts appeared first on InvestorPlace.
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."
Coca-Cola is closing its Odwalla juice business as well as a refrigerated-trucking network that delivers fresh drinks to stores. The moves will cut about 300 jobs, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Atlanta drinks giant will stop delivering Odwalla to stores by the end of July and will pick up unsold inventory through August, a spokesperson told The Journal.
Marketing veteran and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk weighs in on the controversy swirling around Facebook.
Imagine co-founder and former long-time Unilever CEO Paul Polman speaks out on Facebook's recent actions.
DOW UPDATE Led by positive momentum for shares of Pfizer and Walt Disney, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is climbing Wednesday morning. Shares of Pfizer (PFE) and Walt Disney (DIS) have contributed to the index's intraday rally, as the Dow (DJIA) was most recently trading 28 points (0.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi and Jared Blikre speak with Futurum Research Principal Analyst Daniel Newman about what the Facebook ad boycott means for the company’s revenue.
The grim milestones of 10 million global coronavirus cases and more than 500,000 deaths, along with spikes in a number of U.S. states, haven't deterred investors on Monday. U.S. stock futures pointed higher before the open, despite more indications a second wave may be around the corner.
It joins social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube reckoning with hate speech and misinformation
In the latest trading session, Coca-Cola (KO) closed at $44.36, marking a +1.81% move from the previous day.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. fielded criticism from a growing number of consumer companies over harmful content on its sites, with Starbucks Corp. and Diageo Plc pulling back on ad spending and General Motors Co. planning to review its social media marketing strategy.Starbucks and Diageo followed Unilever, Coca-Cola Co. and several other companies in saying they will cut ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to limit hate speech and posts that divide and misinform. Microsoft Corp., which was Facebook’s third-largest advertiser last year, has paused global ad spending on the site because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter. The list of companies taking similar action lengthened on Monday. Britvic Plc, which supplies a wide range of soft drinks, Patreon Inc. and The Clorox Co. all said they will stop advertising on Facebook while GM said it’s “reviewing and reinforcing” its marketing guidelines.Read more: How to Go Cold Turkey on $77 Billion of Facebook Ads: Alex WebbWhile a single advertiser can do little to hurt a company that generated $17.7 billion in revenue last quarter, the rising tally creates peer pressure on other brands, and civil rights groups say they expect more corporations to join a boycott. Combined with a pandemic-fueled economic slowdown, the threat to Facebook is deepening.“Given the amount of noise this is drawing, this will have significant impact to Facebook’s business,” Wedbush Securities analyst Bradley Gastwirth wrote in a research note. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control.”Shares gained 2.1% Monday to close at $220.64 in New York, after dropping 8.3% on Friday. Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would cease spending on Facebook properties this year, eliminating $56 billion in market value and shaving the net worth of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg by more than $7 billion.Facebook was already bracing for weakness in the second quarter, which ends this week. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner said in an April earnings call that he saw the “potential for an even more severe advertising industry contraction.”The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in spending. Facebook’s sales will rise 1% in the June period, followed by a 7% increase in the third quarter, analysts predict, by far the smallest quarterly growth increases since the company went public.Advertiser boycotts in July could cost Facebook more than $250 million in the third quarter if 25% of its top 100 buyers pause spending, and as much as $500 million if 50% of the top advertisers stop, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral.Zuckerberg announced changes Friday designed to appease critics, but the Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups calling for the boycott, called the amendments “small.”Some analysts have said the financial impact of recent exits will be limited, citing past advertiser revolts. Even so, this exodus is distinct in key ways, Bernstein Securities analyst Mark Shmulik wrote in a research note Saturday. There’s heightened pressure to publicly demonstrate that brands stand with civil-rights groups, he said.“The current environment is very different,” Shmulik wrote. “It is very visible who is and isn’t participating in the boycott where brand silence [equals] being complicit.”(Updates to add Microsoft withdrawl in second 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.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Mark Zuckerberg has a problem, and he can fix it.Public furor over Facebook Inc.’s content policies has led some of its biggest advertisers to take action, with brands from Starbucks Corp. to Unilever, Coca-Cola Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. all vowing to pull ads from the social media giant’s namesake Facebook platform as well as Instagram for at least the month of July. The move was initially spurred by a campaign led by a coalition of civil rights groups — including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP — to force Facebook to do more to curb hate speech and language promoting violence. As the effort has gained traction, the numbers joining the boycott are increasing on a daily basis. On Monday afternoon alone, Best Buy Co. said it would pause its ad spending on Facebook, while Axios reported that Microsoft Corp. had suspended its advertising as well.Facebook has come in for criticism about its practices before and got past it largely by riding out the negative publicity while offering some incremental fixes. For example, Facebook already survived the Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal a couple years ago without serious long-term ramifications. And so, Zuckerberg may be tempted to hunker down this time as well.On a purely short-term financial basis, it would make sense. According to Pathmatics data, the top 50 advertisers on Facebook accounted for just 4% of the company’s sales last year. The vast majority of the rest comes from millions of small- and medium-sized businesses that are less affected by any public shaming from activists, and arguably more reliant on the exposure they get from buying ads on Facebook and Instagram. But a decision based purely on dollars and cents would be short-sighted in this instance, and bad for business.More and more, it’s becoming clear that the recent wave of protests over racial injustice isn’t a short-lived phenomenon, but one that appears to reflect a sea-change in perception and beliefs, and — like the MeToo movement before it — demands a change in behavior. The backlash that started at the grassroots level and moved on to corporate action is likely to move next to the political and regulatory sphere. Wouldn’t it be better for Facebook, already in the public glare, to bend and make its own meaningful policy changes instead of being forced to accept more punitive prescriptions and further potential damage to its reputation and business?Facebook is already facing increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have made proposals to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet companies from legal liability over user-generated content. For now, Republicans and the Department of Justice are focused on issues of conservative speech censorship, while Democrats have asked for the faster removal of misinformation and false claims inside political ads.The disparate points of emphasis likely means nothing will happen in Congress before the November election. However, if one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House next year, the probability of regulation will rise considerably.In the near term, the risk for Facebook may be greater from Europe than the U.S. The region’s authorities have identified antitrust as the more effective way to tackle Silicon Valley’s shortcomings than regulation, whose limits have been exposed by the General Data Protection Regulation that kicked in two years ago. GDPR has done little either to change the business practices of Google or Facebook, or to reduce their market power. And discussions about data or content are always questions of regulation, rather than antitrust.But antitrust is far more of an existential threat to Facebook than is regulation. That’s not simply because it could, in the most extreme circumstances, result in a breakup of the company. It’s because antitrust by definition seeks to tackle its business practices.Just last week, Germany’s highest civil court ruled that Facebook must stop logging browsing activity outside of its platforms without users’ explicit permission, and that such permission couldn’t be a condition of using its other services. Crucially, though, the decision was based not on data protection but antitrust laws. It said Facebook was abusing its market power to force users to accept the terms because it is the dominant social network. And the ruling fundamentally attacked the company’s business model, which is built on using such data to target ads effectively. An effort by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority is even less ambiguous: It’s carrying out a study into online platforms and digital advertising.While the U.K. is no longer a member of the European Union, the bloc’s regulators are following the findings of the study closely. After years of tackling Google, Facebook is now high on the European agenda. The two firms’ dominance of digital advertising is fueled by their low incremental costs. Tackle their business models, and you might resolve the harmful content problem, runs the argument. The EU plans new rules by the end of the year on content regulation and platform liability, while Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust and tech chief, is seeking new powers to break companies up. And the European Commission has more power than U.S. regulators: It can impose decisions unilaterally, which companies can then challenge in court. In the U.S., regulators generally need court approval first before any ruling is imposed.So, Zuckerberg needs to acknowledge the growing uproar is symptomatic of new and lasting societal, political and regulatory crosscurrents. While he has long been adamant it is not Facebook’s job to be the “arbiter of truth,” there is no better climate, in the face of pressure from advertisers, politicians and civil rights groups alike, to alter that stance — he can change tack without losing as much face.Serious changes are needed — from being more effective in taking down hate speech quickly to clamping down on false claims and disinformation from all users. Such moves would help the company get ahead of future actions from regulators. That would be wise as government regulation will likely be far more punitive – whether it be from the European Union or a potentially new American administration.Simply, Facebook’s traditional hands-off approach isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time for Zuckerberg to show some real leadership.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.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.
Clorox is the latest company to boycott Facebook, pausing all ads on the platform through December. Arisha Hatch, Color of Change's Vice President and Chief of Campaigns, joins Yahoo Finance's Zack Guzman to break down the growing number of companies joining the social media ban.
Over 180 businesses and artists have decided to pull advertising on Facebook in July, according to one of the organizers of the "Stop Hate for Profit" movement. The running list of unfriending firms includes several big names like Verizon, Coca-Cola, UnileverUSA, The North Face, The Hershey Company, Starbucks Coffee, Patagonia, lululemon, Levi's and Honda. A few are halting advertising on other social media platforms as well as part of their hate speech boycott.
Cooking from home may be here to stay even after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. McCormick CEO Lawrence Kurzius chats with Yahoo Finance.
(Bloomberg) -- A growing list of Facebook Inc.’s advertisers is set to halt spending on social media, undermining the company’s sales outlook and putting its stock price under further pressure.Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Diageo Plc were among the most recent companies to say they’re curtailing ad spending, part of an exodus aimed at pushing Facebook and its peers to suppress posts that glorify violence, divide and disinform the public, and promote racism and discrimination.No single company can significantly dent growth at Facebook, which generated $17.7 billion in revenue last quarter alone. But a rising tally adds to pressure on other brands to follow suit, and when combined with a pandemic-fueled economic slowdown, the threat to Facebook deepens.“Given the amount of noise this is drawing, this will have significant impact to Facebook’s business,” Wedbush Securities analyst Bradley Gastwirth wrote in a research note. “Facebook needs to address this issue quickly and effectively in order to stop advertising exits from potentially spiraling out of control.”As more brands publicize plans to join boycotts or otherwise rein in ad spending, Facebook shares remain under pressure. The stock tumbled 8.3% Friday after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would halt spending on Facebook properties this year, eliminating $56 billion in market value and shaving the net worth of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg by more than $7 billion. Shares closed at $216.08 Friday after reaching a record $242.24 the preceding Tuesday.Facebook was already bracing for weakness in the second quarter, which ends this week. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner noted in an April earnings call the “potential for an even more severe advertising industry contraction.”The number of coronavirus cases has surged in the intervening months, prompting many parts of the country to slow or roll-back reopening efforts and giving advertisers added justification to rein in marketing spending. Facebook will eke out 1% revenue growth in the June period, followed by a 7% increase in the third quarter, according to analysts’ current projections, by far the smallest quarterly growth increases since the company went public.Starbucks said Sunday that it would pause spending on all social media platforms while it carries out talks internally, with media partners and civil rights groups “in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech.”Trump PostsWhile some companies are targeting social media generally, including Twitter Inc., many are singling out Facebook specifically. Zuckerberg has been more reticent to put limits on discourse, notably controversial posts by U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that he doesn’t want Facebook to be an arbiter of what’s true.That’s prompted a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to urge advertisers to stop spending on Facebook-owned platforms for July to protest the company’s policies.Zuckerberg responded Friday to the growing criticism, saying that Facebook would label all voting-related posts with a link encouraging users to look at its new voter information hub. The social network also expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech for advertising.“We understand people want to put pressure on Facebook to do more,” Facebook vice president Nick Clegg said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources. “That’s why we made those additional announcements in Friday. That’s why we’ll continue to redouble our efforts, because, you know, we have a zero tolerance approach to hate speech.”The Anti-Defamation League called the changes “small.”The stampede of advertisers, combined with lobbying from civil rights groups, leaves Zuckerberg in a bind. He could take further steps to curtail harmful content, but that risks alienating free-speech advocates and supporters of Trump who have argued that Facebook is censoring political discourse and suppressing conservative voices.Distinct ExodusHe could also stand pat on a bet that this advertising pause will be short-lived, as have social media ad boycotts in the past. But this exodus as distinct, Bernstein Securities analyst Mark Shmulik wrote in a research note Saturday. There’s heightened pressure to publicly demonstrate that brands stand with civil rights groups, he said. “The current environment is very different,” Shmulik wrote. “It is very visible who is and isn’t participating in the boycott where brand silence [equals] being complicit.”Will Zuckerberg budge? While major brands like Unilever and Coca-Cola have garnered most of the headlines, the vast majority of Facebook’s 8 million advertisers are small businesses, many of which rely heavily on Facebook advertising for sales. Some in the ad industry don’t believe that these businesses, particularly those in commerce and direct-to-consumer sales, can actually afford to halt spending.“Pulling off for a whole month would really hurt their business,” Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley said earlier this week. “It’s a lot to ask for.”In its outreach to advertisers last week, Facebook has said it doesn’t intend to make decisions based on sales. “We have been consistent that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” Facebook said on Wednesday in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”Whatever additional moves Facebook makes, there’s reason to believe the departure of advertisers won’t end soon. “Advertisers who have seen their own ads published against hateful, horrible content on Facebook -- racist, anti-Semitic poison -- they are finally saying ‘enough’,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook with advertisers. I can tell you more are coming.”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.