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Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn’t go well – CNN

“The meeting we just left was a disappointment,” said Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change. “[Facebook] showed up to the meeting expecting an ‘A’ for attendance.”
Free Press, a media activist group and one of the organizers of the #StopHateForProfit campaign to halt ad spending on the social network, said Facebook still has not taken the boycott’s calls to action seriously.
“Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands,” said Free Press Co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez. “Facebook approached our meeting today like it was nothing more than a PR exercise.”
In a statement, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company has established new policies banning voting and census suppression and removed more than 200 white supremacist organizations from the platform.
“This meeting was an opportunity for us to hear from the campaign organizers and reaffirm our commitment to combating hate on our platform. They want Facebook to be free of hate speech and so do we,” the statement said. “We know we will be judged by our actions not by our words and are grateful to these groups and many others for their continued engagement.”
The hard truth about the Facebook ad boycott: Nothing matters but Zuckerberg
A long list of big and small businesses, including household names like The North Face, Pfizer (PFE) and Levi Strauss (LEVI), have joined the pressure campaign over the social network’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. The companies participating in the protest have vowed to pull their ads from Facebook and Instagram for at least the month of July.
The protest came after Facebook decided not to take action on a series of controversial posts from President Donald Trump — including one during racial justice protests that said “looting” would lead to “shooting.” Facebook and Zuckerberg came under pressure from employees and politicians, but the ad boycott represented a more direct potential threat to the social network’s core business.
The meeting on Tuesday lasted for a little over an hour, and was conducted via Zoom, said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. The meeting included Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, chief product officer Chris Cox, and members of the Facebook policy team, he said.
The campaign had called on participating brands to ask for 10 changes that touch on seemingly every aspect of how Facebook operates, from the ads it allows to run on the platform to the makeup of its leadership team and its content moderation policies.
Facebook will label more controversial content and tighten advertising policies
The list includes demanding that Facebook hire a C-Suite executive with “deep” civil rights experience to assess products and policies for discrimination, bias and hate. The organizers are also calling for Facebook to pledge to do regular, independent audits of hate and misinformation; remove public and private groups focused on hate or violent conspiracies and stop the recommendation and reach of such groups; and give all moderators anti-bias and hate-related training in the next 90 days.
The group also wants Facebook to ban political ads with blatant lies, which the company has faced criticism for allowing in the past. Facebook has previously defended the policy, saying it does not want to censor political speech.
Greenblatt said the groups methodically outlined their demands in the meeting, such as the call for a new civil rights executive position at Facebook, but got no commitments or timeframes for change.
“We had 10 demands and literally, we went through the 10, and didn’t get commitments or timeframes or clear outcomes,” said Greenblatt. Zuckerberg came to the meeting expressing appreciation for the opportunity to hear the nuances of the groups’ position, Greenblatt added. “And we said: ‘There is no nuance in white nationalism.'”
Many of the organizations expressed disappointment with what they said were repeated dialogues with few results.
“For over 2 years, NAACP has entered into dialogue,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP. “We’ve watched the conversation blossom into nothingness.”
Gonzalez told CNN Business she is “really tired of the vague promises,” and that her organization might not join future meetings with Facebook.
“I don’t know that I would sit down again until they’ve actually made some commitments,” she said.
Robinson said his previous meeting with Facebook — along with the apparent futility of the meetings — was what helped to inspire the boycott campaign.
“At the June 1st meeting, I kept saying, ‘What are we even doing — Mark, why are we meeting?’ It was at that point that I knew we would move into a boycott mode,” said Robinson. “Facebook has our demands and recommendations, and so any other meetings need commitments.”
In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, Sandberg said the company would release on Wednesday the final report in a two-year-long civil rights audit of the company.
“It has helped us learn a lot about what we could do better, and we have put many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community into practice,” Sandberg wrote. “While we won’t be making every change they call for, we will put more of their proposals into practice soon.”
Civil rights groups expressed skepticism about the report’s likelihood of leading to changes.
“It’s only as good as what Facebook ends up doing with the content,” said Robinson of Color of Change. “It’s like going to a doctor, getting a new set of recommendations about your diet, and not doing anything about it and wondering why you’re not any healthier.”

Read More: Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn’t go well – CNN

The denim maker Levi Strauss & Co.‘s sales fell 62% during its fiscal second quarter, the company announced Tuesday, as its online sales weren’t enough to make up for its stores being temporarily shut for roughly 10 weeks during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Consumers by and large have shifted away from tight pants and denim, opting instead for loungewear and pants with elastic waistbands to wear around the house — if they’re even shopping for clothes. 

Levi’s also announced it will be slashing about 15% of its global corporate workforce, impacting about 700 jobs, in a bid to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic. It said the move should generate annualized savings for Levi’s of $100 million. 

Its shares initially fell in after-hours trading but recently were up less than 1%. 

“Although we are starting to see some green shoots, we need to continue to be cautious,” Chief Executive Chip Bergh said in a memo sent to the company’s employees, which was obtained by CNBC. “There could be a second wave,” of Covid-19 cases and resulting store closures, he added. 

Bergh’s comments come as cases are rising rapidly in the U.S. in recent weeks, prompting some state and local governments to slow reopening or reimpose measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus. Overall retail store traffic declines have accelerated again in the past two weeks, according to data from ShopperTrak

Today, while about 90% of Levi’s stores have reopened worldwide, traffic and sales are still lagging levels from a year ago, Bergh said. A complete recovery “will likely take some time,” he said. 

Here’s how Levi’s did during the quarter ended May 24: 

  • Adjusted loss per share: 48 cents 
  • Revenue: $498 million 

The San Francisco-headquartered company reported a net loss of $364 million, or 91 cents a share, compared with net income of $29 million, or earnings of 7 cents per share, a year ago. 

Excluding one-time charges, Levi’s lost 48 cents a share. 

The loss was largely due to $242 million in restructuring charges and inventory costs related to disruptions from the pandemic, the company said. 

Revenue fell 62% to $498 million from $1.31 billion a year ago. 

Analysts were calling for Levi’s to report an adjusted loss of 49 cents per share on revenue of $486 million, according to Refinitiv data. 

The company said losses were partially offset by its e-commerce business, which grew 25% during the second quarter, making up 15% of total net revenue during the period, compared with just 5% a year prior. 

Still, sales in its Americas region were down 59% overall. They dropped 68% in Europe and 61% in Asia. 

“Unlike a number of our peers … we took the brunt of this in one quarter,” Bergh told CNBC in a phone interview. 

Now, with about 90% of stores back up and running, roughly 40% are reporting sales growth compared with last year, in some instances exceeding the company’s internal expectations, he said in the interview. 

But Levi’s has plans in place in case it needs to shut a number of those doors again. Apple has taken the lead and closed dozens of stores in states like Florida and Texas for a second time, with Covid-cases still on the rise in certain hot spots. According to Bergh, Levi’s has about 40 locations in the U.S. that it is currently monitoring closely, checking them every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “There are several doors getting close,” he said. 

Inventories ended the second quarter up 10%, Levi’s said. 

According to Bergh, much of Levi’s merchandise is “evergreen,” meaning the company can stow it away and it will still be in style next season. 

Levi’s said it ended the quarter with total liquidity of roughly $2 billion, with $448 million still available under the company’s revolving credit facility. 

The company is not offering a 2020 outlook at this time. 

Levi’s shares are down about 27% from a year ago. The company has a market cap of $5.5 billion. 

Read More: Levi’s sales fall 62% in second quarter, to cut 15% of corporate workforce – CNBC