Social Media Silence During Catastrophes, Crises and Mourning
If you’ve made an ad on Facebook the last couple days, then you may have noticed Facebook has approached the death of Thailand’s King by silencing all ads and sponsored content throughout the country.
This is significant because Facebook is the largest digital ad provider in Thailand and they could potentially lose millions in ad revenue from their customers. This also shows that Facebook is aware of the severity of the mourning taking place in Thailand.
Facebook released this official statement:
“Out of respect for the passing of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, we’re temporarily not showing ads in Thailand. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support of the Thai community during this period of mourning.
Note that ads will continue to deliver as normal in other countries, and that advertisers in Thailand can continue to run ads outside of Thailand.”
Facebook wasn’t the only network to pay respect. Google removed its daily doodle from the top navigation and replaced it with a flat black logo and removed all the ads running on YouTube in the country.
As advertisers, we should be more aware of the implications of posting or sponsoring content during times of catastrophes, crises and mourning. At EPIC, we advise our clients to practice silence in these times. There have been several instances where we’ve paused campaigns and rescheduled posts to be respectful in an unfortunate situation, and in the aftermath.
For example, our team decided to halt all social posts on the morning of the Orlando night club shooting so as to not fill News Feeds with seemingly insensitive brand messaging.
There are countless articles published after days of remembrance criticizing brands that post insensitive content. Nobody looks back and wonders what a brand had to say about Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Unless your brand is directly related to the topic, we feel it’s best to pay your respects through silence.
In short, as a brand, you’ll never regret not saying anything at all.
We give kudos to Facebook and all brands that take this type of approach. If we all practice empathy for those affected by these types of unfortunate events, we’ll do our part, albeit a small one, to make it a bit easier to cope.