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AUCKLAND, Today: Facebook and the motives of Mark Zuckerberg get a close examination from writer Peter Griffin in today’s edition of BusinessDesk.

In the process, Griffen revealed that US billionaire Bill Foley, who’s been buying up NZ vineyards (Mt Difficulty and Roaring Meg) is a Donald Trump campaign donor.

Griffen writes: “A San Francisco Chronicle reporter, looking through the US political donations register, noticed that Foley had donated nearly $400,000 to Trump since 2016.

“He has given millions more over the years to a range of Republican politicians and political action committees.”

“The Twitter talk turned to boycotting Foley-owned labels.

“The same argument is playing out on a grander scale when it comes to the Black Lives Matter boycott of Facebook by a growing number of its high profile advertisers.

“Adidas, Starbucks, Ford, Leggo, VW and Target are all part of the boycott.”

“At least 270 of them  have pledged to pull their advertising from Facebook throughout July as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign that is protesting Facebook’s failure to inadequately deal with hate speech on its platform.

“Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is the ultimate coin-operated person. He only concedes ground when he sees serious threats to the company’s bottom line.

“I don’t think he is necessarily motivated by greed, he is already a billionaire many times over.

“But the financial success of Facebook and his ability to stay in complete control and carry out whatever his personal agenda is for the platform and the 1.7 billion people who log onto it each month, are intertwined.

“Last week Zuckerberg gave a major concession in the face of the rapidly growing boycott.

He said Facebook would begin to add tags to “problematic” posts, including from politicians, who have previously been able to tell whatever lies they want.

“We’re seeing an overall decrease in Facebook spend.”

“The concession he did make partially explains the V-shaped recovery in Facebook’s share price since it plunged 8% on Friday.

“The other part is explained by the fact that Facebook’s strength lies in the sheer number of advertisers it attracts – some seven million of them globally.”

Adidas, Starbucks, Ford and Target are all part of the boycott.

“Yes, Facebook will be worried about losing those advertisers from the platform, even for just a month, but its mainstay is a vast army of e-commerce players who pay to pop up in your newsfeed selling everything from self-help webinars to surfboards.

“They don’t spend money on billboards and TV adverts. For them, social media is their primary marketing platform and pausing their Facebook ads for a month is an unthinkable proposition. They’ll actually be doubling down on their spend as ad rates become more favourable.

“We’re seeing an overall decrease in Facebook spend.

“Overall, we’re seeing a retreat from broad awareness type media and a huge focus on performance and direct marketing, such as search, sales emails, point-of-purchase marketing and discounts.”

  • Read the full Griffin story here

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