Facebook told 'enough is enough' by advertisers as backlash against Cambridge Analytica scandal mounts

Industry representatives to demand answers from social network company in crunch talks on Friday

Ben Chapman
Thursday 22 March 2018 12:57 GMT
Facebook data row: What is Cambridge Analytica?

Facebook has been warned that “enough is enough” by top advertisers as the company faces an increasing backlash from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

UK ad industry representatives will meet with Facebook’s European vice president Steve Hatch on Friday to demand answers from Facebook about allegations that millions of profiles were harvested and used to influence voters.

Trade body ISBA, which represents more than 3,000 brands, wants a full account of what happened as well as reassurances over how users’ personal data is secured.

"When we meet with Facebook tomorrow we want to understand the scope of the inquiry Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday," said Phil Smith, director general of ISBA.

"We want reassurances for our members that it will get to the bottom of the issues and any implications for the public and for advertisers."

If Facebook cannot instil confidence that people’s personal data is safe, advertisers will start threatening to pull their content from the platform, the boss of one of the UK’s highest-profile ad agencies said on Thursday.

“I don't think they're bluffing. They are going to exert real pressure,“ M&C Saatchi chief executive David Kershaw told the BBC’s Today Programme.

“I think that clients have come to a point, quite rightly, where enough is enough,” Mr Kershaw said.

“It is much more likely to be hard money from advertisers rather than consumers running hashtags on Twitter,” he said, referring to hashtags such as #DeleteFacebook and #BoycottFacebook.

The loss of advertising has the potential to be highly damaging for Facebook, which makes the majority of its money through selling ads targeted at users.

The firm has already seen around $50bn wiped off its market value in less than a week since the scandal broke.

However, Mr Kershaw conceded that advertisers are reliant on the platform to reach customers because “we live in a very strong oligopoly with Facebook and Google”.

He said that “in the digital space, plurality doesn't exist”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in