Will Unilever follow Ben & Jerry’s decision to halt Twitter spend over hate speech?

by Anna Munhin Jun 5, 2023 News
Will Unilever follow Ben & Jerry’s decision to halt Twitter spend over hate speech?

We looked at the likelihood of other brands following the ice-cream maker's lead.

A mocked up Ben & Jerry's tub with the flavour 'Twitter Quitter'

Pressure is mounting on the platform after Ben & Jerry's announcement.

Ben & Jerry's is the latest company to stop spending money on social media because of hate speech. Ben & Jerry's only axed its budgets last week in response to a series of brand safety and hate speech issues.

In an announcement posted to the platform itself, the official Ben & Jerry's account stated: "The platform has become a threatening and even dangerous space for people from so many different background, including people who are black, brown, trans, gay, women, people with disabilities, Jewish, It's unconscionable and it's bad business.

The ice-cream brand said that it would maintain a presence on the platform but that it was subject to review.

The head of safety resigned after Ben & Jerry's published its decision. Following the resignation of the previous head, she took over the position.

Carol Chan, the managing director at marketing agency Comms8, suggests that the brand has used the problems at Twitter as a chance to reinforce its brand values. It is likely generating more impact than traditional paid advertising.

If Twitter does not address these concerns, the situation could escalate, even if I don't expect a blanket adoption of this strategy. The quality of content on the platform has declined. It could encourage more brands to rethink their advertising investments.

Dove, Hellman's and Axe have been asked if they will follow Ben & Jerry's lead. A spokesman for the company wouldn't comment.

Many of its brands have publicly stated their opposition to hate speech in the past. Dove has taken a stand against toxic beauty standards on social media.

The independence in its decision-making was built into the terms of the purchase of Ben & Jerry's. The company decided to stop trading in occupied Palestinian territories in 2021.

Ben & Jerry's decision to quit Twitter puts pressure on other brands to explain why they keep advertising on the platform.

Jim Coleman is the chief executive of social media agency We Are Social.

With the lack of clarity around safety at Twitter, the decline may be longer-term than previously thought. Linda Yaccarino will be eager to move quickly to stabilizing the platform and restoring confidence in advertisers.

According to industry observers, Yaccarino will bring a certain level of confidence to advertisers that have been hesitant to spend on Musk's new vision for the platform.

Fidelity, which has a minority stake in the company, believes that it is worth around 15 billion dollars, a third of the price Musk paid for it. As a result of brand safety concerns and the firing of a number of key sales staff, the company is having a hard time onboarding ad revenue.