Viber will remove all Facebook tech including GIPHY as it joins a boycott campaign
Viber is the world's fifth-largest messaging service, boasting over a billion users across the world. It has officially joined the #StopHateForProfit movement which calls on businesses to suspend Facebook ad spending for the month of July. The group's grievances include voter suppression, marking biased sources as trusted, and inaction on threats against protesters.
Rakuten, which owns Viber, has already stopped all ad spending on Facebook and Instagram. It's also removing all Facebook touchpoints from the app including Facebook Connect, which allows users to log in and GIPHY, a looping video database that Facebook bought recently.
Rakuten understands that removal of Facebook technology could hurt its users and marketing strategies. It's still confident that it wouldn't be the end of the app but acknowledges that the decision was difficult.
Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua said:
Facebook is too large to ignore in the long run
Previously, Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s, freelancing platform Upwork, and outdoor retail companies REI, The North Face, and Patagonia had also joined the cause and pulled advertising from Facebook and Instagram for the month of July.
Procter & Gamble has also threatened to do the same if the company fails to take appropriate action to curb hate speech.
Although Facebook is too large to be hurt by a campaign like this in the short term, the movement will surely mount pressure on it to take a more hardline stance against the improper use of its platform. The company is aware that it has a trust deficit and its position has only been made more awkward by Twitter's decision to do active fact-checking.
Ultimately, most marketers are likely to return to Facebook. From a business perspective, Viber may have gone too far with its decision of removing Facebook Connect and GIPHY.