Mark Zuckerberg loses US$7 billion

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FACEBOOK founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has lost more than $7 billion in personal wealth as companies stopped advertising on the social media platform, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

Facebook shares dropped 8.3 percent on Friday, eliminating $56 billion from the company’s market value, after British-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever joined a number of other big brands in pulling its advertisements from the site, according to Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg now ranks at No. 4 on the index with a net worth of $82.3 billion, behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault.

Companies ranging from Verizon to Ben & Jerry’s to The North Face are pulling ads from Facebook and Instagram as part of the #StopHate4Profit campaign led by a number of civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP. Some companies have also pulled advertising from Twitter.

The #StopHate4Profit campaign encourages companies to pull ads from Facebook specifically because they allege the company amplifies white supremacist voices and does not do enough to stop hate speech from spreading.

The ADL on Thursday sent an open letter to Facebook advertisers saying the social media platform “continues to come up short” in its efforts to block “rampant hate and harassment.”

“Every day, we see ads from companies placed adjacent to hateful content, occupying the same space as extremist recruitment groups and harmful disinformation campaigns,” ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said. “Your ad buying dollars are being used by the platform to increase its dominance in the industry at the expense of vulnerable and marginalized communities who are often targets of hate groups on Facebook.”

Facebook on Friday announced some changes to the way the website handles voter misinformation and posts from politicians amid backlash over not taking action against posts from President Trump.

Facebook also said that its artificial intelligence tools and human moderators catch and remove “90 percent” of hate speech “before anyone even reports it” to the site.

“Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post. “We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.” – www.foxbusiness.com

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