Pascale St-Onge Claims Boycott Momentum After FTQ Suspends $2,200 Per Year Meta Ad Campaign

FTQ suspended its estimated $2,200 ad campaign to join the failed Meta boycott. Heritage Minister, Pascale St-Onge claimed it was growing momentum.

It seems that the Canadian government is trying to flog the dead Meta boycott horse. Last month, the Canadian government tried to kick off a boycott of Meta when it announced the suspension of a $10 million ad campaign on Meta. Supposedly, this was about trying to get Meta to change their minds about dropping news links in Canada. Of course, the problem was that the seemingly eye-popping number only amounts to less than one hour of advertising revenue for Meta. So, hardly a drop in the bucket for them.

While the government claimed that this was about a fight for democracy, akin to World War II, the Liberal party themselves refused to join their own boycott, choosing instead to continue advertising on Meta. In fact, since then, the Liberal party has launched additional ads on Meta since they launched the Meta boycott. All of this signalled that the boycott of Meta was dead on arrival.

Since then, it seems that supporters of the Online News Act have been struggling to recruit other Canadian businesses to the cause. This left core supporters to go it alone. We noted that the Toronto Star expectadly joined in, but their advertising budget was so microscopic, it amounted to less than one second of Facebook advertising.

Recently, a Quebec union, the FTQ, announced that it was suspending their advertising campaigns with Meta. From CTV:

Quebec’s largest union federation, the FTQ, announced Friday that it’s suspending all advertising purchases from Meta, which includes the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

The FTQ is reacting to Meta’s refusal to negotiate royalties with Canadian media under Bill C-18, which was passed last June. In retaliation for this legislation, Meta is removing Canadian media content from its platforms.

FTQ president Magali Picard says Meta has taken an undemocratic step that deprives the public of credible information. She adds that Meta is profiting from the articles and news of press groups without paying those who have produced this content.

The extent of the FTQ’s advertising purchases from Meta was not specified.

Although it was not specified, it is apparently actually available. According to the Facebook transparency report, FTQ seemingly spent $2,200 for the year of 2022. As we earlier noted, Meta made $117.346 billion for the year ending on March 31, 2023. According to our estimates, Meta earns, on average, $3,721.02 every second. So, the amount of money we are talking about suggests that this suspension amounts to less than 1 second of advertising revenue.

So, you can pretty much bet that Meta’s reaction to all of this goes along the lines of “Oh no, anyway…”

All of this, simply put, is only adding to the humiliation of the dead on arrival boycott as there is pretty much no chance that this would even phase Meta in the first place. After all, all of the suspensions above, in total, appear to amount to less than 1 hour of revenue for Meta. That’s like a mosquito running into the hull of a battleship and the rest of the insect world proclaiming that this will really show that battleship.

If there was even any hope for this failed boycott, you are needing a corporation to suspend an ad campaign that’s worth multiple orders of magnitude above what we are seeing. We’re talking half a billion dollars per year at minimum. That is just with the hopes of getting Meta’s attention in the first place, let alone getting them to change their minds on a policy decision. The most you’re going to get out of the above dollar figures is laughter.

Of course, although people are laughing at these comically small figures, it seems that Heritage Minister, Pascale St-Onge, is claiming that momentum is building. From a recent tweet:

Meta is blocking news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada.

Businesses, governments, and organizations across the country are responding.

This momentum says one thing: Canadians know this is important and tech giants need to pay their fair share.

Honestly, at this stage, this is starting to cross the threshold from this being a hilarious joke to being plain sad. The people you need to convince aren’t average every day Canadians or a handful of businesses that drank the Kool-Aid. The people that need to be convinced are Meta who are already suspending news links in Canada. All indications suggest that they aren’t even close to reconsidering at this stage. What’s more, this shows why companies that do participate in these boycotts are so reluctant to disclose the actual dollar figures that are involved. It’s a pathetically small amount that has no shot in making a difference for Meta.

Probably the only difference it’ll make is for the businesses that get suckered into joining this “boycott”. It is obvious that they derive value from advertising with Meta. Otherwise, they wouldn’t fork over money for it. So, whatever value that they get from advertising will get lost as a result. This over a cause that is already showing that it was doomed to fail from the very beginning. The dollar value isn’t there and the blocking is going to move forward. Saying that this boycott will really show Meta the “what for” is only a recipe for showing the world just how out of touch with reality you really are.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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