Starbucks to pause advertising across social media to help stop hate speech

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Facebook shares sink as Unilever, Coca-Cola pull ads

Diageo, along with Coca-Cola last week, also said it would pause paid advertising on "major social media platforms", meaning even smaller players such as Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok are being affected.

According to Riikka-Maria Lemminki, CEO of lobby group Marketing Finland, some firms have cut back on advertising with the social media giant. The campaign was recently launched by six organisations in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and plans to call on organisations in Europe to follow suit, Reuters reported. Starbucks says it is continuing discussions internally, and with its media partners and civil rights organizations, "in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech". Verizon in a statement said it was "pausing" its ad spend on the social media platform until a brand safety solution was developed to prevent the issue from happening again. And while most of the 184 companies on the boycott * a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VSGhDwXm18yFf2BVCz0QJYFjCHrPhDuO-m5rCo0zoqI/htmlview?pru=AAABcyPgxSs*T6wcjzjzSikohiDqdkSuyA#gid=0" *list as of Monday morning are not large, it would "likely take tens of thousands of [smaller advertisers], acting over a significant period of time, to put a big dent in Facebook's bottom line", noted CNN Business' Brian Fung.

Don MacAskill, CEO at image and video service Flickr, which also owns SmugMug, posted on Twitter on June 26 that the company would halt Facebook advertising.

There is yet no hint as to whether the brands are pleased with Facebook's new move, but it is clear that if the boycotts continue, the brands will likely shift their ad spending to other companies.

The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter and Snap in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from US President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral. The statement also listed ideas concerning accountability, decency, and support which the organisations hope Facebook will agree and implement over the next month. "Let's send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence", the campaign website said.

Facebook shares dropped by 8.32 percent, the most in three months, shedding 56 billion USA dollars of its market value.

According to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics, Unilever has spent more than $11.8 million in the US this year on Facebook ads alone.

Facebook also expanded its definition of prohibited hate speech, adding a clause saying no ads will be allowed if they label another demographic as unsafe.

Zuckerberg added that there is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.

In a Facebook post and town hall speech broadcast live (see below), Zuckerberg outlined steps to counter some forms of voter suppression, set a higher standard for hateful content in ads and promised more labelling around newsworthy posts, especially by politicians that may violate Facebook policies. "I'm optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting", Zuckerberg added.

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