This Month in Social Media: June 2020

Keeping up with the ever-changing social media landscape is hard enough, but adding a global pandemic, civil unrest, and an upcoming presidential election has made it more challenging than ever. To ease the burden, we’ve created a monthly recap of the most significant social media updates.

Here are the top 4 stories this month in social media: June 2020.

  1. How Social Platforms Respond to the #BlackLivesMatter Protests Across the US – Social platforms have responded in various ways to the ongoing protests across the country. 
    • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has allocated several new grants aimed at addressing racial inequality. Twitter has also provided resources and tips to help people understand the situation and the part that they can play in making a change.
    • LinkedIn voiced its support for the movement and made a series of LinkedIn Learning courses on diversity and inclusion available to users for free.
    • YouTube has shared its support and also pledged $1 million in funding to support organizations seeking to address injustice. 
    • TikTok is establishing a new creator diversity council, and is giving $3 million from its $250 million COVID-19 relief fund to non-profits that benefit the Black community, “which has been disproportionately affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” TikTok also observed Blackout Tuesday and acknowledged the effect that Black music, artists, and creators have on TikTok. 
    • Facebook and Instagram switched all of their official profiles to black and white colors. Facebook is committing $10 million to groups working on racial justice. Facebook has also launched a new hashtag and story sticker campaign that encourages users to #ShareBlackStories to amplify the voices of black people and continue fighting systematic inequality.
    • Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel shared his response with his staff in an internal memo, saying he was “heartbroken and enraged” by the ongoing battle against racism in the US. Spiegel also called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform, providing concrete options for a way forward from the current situation.
    • Pinterest is donating 25k shares of stock (currently valued at roughly $500,000) to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance.” Pinterest has also committed $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests, and will provide $750,000 in paid media to organizations supporting racial justice.
    • Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from the Reddit board and urged the Board to replace him with a black candidate. Ohanian said he’ll use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, starting with a $1 million donation to Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.
  2. #StopHateforProfit: Civil Rights Groups Call on Advertisers to Pause Facebook Ad Spend in JulyDespite ongoing criticism of its policies regarding divisive comments and content, Facebook has stood firm on its stance that it won’t intervene, and will leave such commentary active, in order to let users see what other people have to say. In response, an alliance of civil rights groups asked businesses to “stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July.” Over 400 brands have joined the boycott including Verizon, Ben & Jerry’s, Adidas, Coca-Cola, HP and many others. 

Beyond bad PR, experts say the protest likely won’t make a lasting impact on Facebook’s ad revenue since plenty of other advertisers can step in. Facebook has over 8 million advertisers, and the vast majority are small and medium-sized businesses. In 2019, the top 100 spenders on Facebook made up just 6% of the company’s total ad revenue, according to Pathmatics.

  1. Zuckerberg to Meet Civil Rights Groups That Led Facebook BoycottCEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will meet with leaders from the civil rights organizations that led an advertising boycott of the social media giant. However, a big change is unlikely. “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” Zuckerberg stated to employees in a town hall meeting early in July 2020.
  2. People Are Now Spending More Time on Smartphones Than They Are Watching TV – A report published by eMarketer in early June said in 2019 “for the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV, with smartphone use dominating that time spent.”

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