Coke, Unilever join Facebook ad boycott

The company, which is one of the world's biggest marketing spenders, cited a need to end divisiveness and hate speech during a polarized election season. Coca-Cola is only the latest company to join in. The European Commission in June announced new guidelines for tech companies including Facebook to submit monthly reports on how they are handling coronavirus misinformation.

The women's clothing designer tweeted, "Along with other industry partners, we're pausing all paid ads on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July".

Shares of Facebook and Twitter plunged on Friday after consumer goods giant Unilever said it would pull advertisements from the social media platforms in the USA for at least the rest of the year. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed.

Starbucks announced Sunday in an online statement that it is "pausing" advertisements on all social-media platforms, two days after consumer-products conglomerate Unilever said it was halting USA advertising on Facebook and Twitter through year-end over ineffective policing of hate speech, leading to a sharp Friday selloff in both stocks.

Companies from Verizon Communications Inc. to Hershey Co. have also stopped social media ads after critics said that Facebook has failed to sufficiently police hate speech and disinformation on the platform.

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That's not all. Stop Hate for Profit is also seeking refunds for advertisers whose messages appear next to content that was removed for violating Facebook's terms of service.

"We are adopting a policy of attaching a link to our Voting Information Center for posts that discuss voting, including from politicians", Zuckerberg wrote. One of the most recent scandals involved a colored version of an iconic World War II photo depicting a Soviet flag over the Reichstag - that was sanctioned on V-Day for showing "dangerous individuals and organizations". "The Japanese carmaker said they "[choose] to stand against hatred and bigotry with people united".

Zuckerberg clarified that Facebook will take down "content that incites violence or suppresses voting", saying even if a politician or government official posts such content, "there is no newsworthiness exemption" in such a case. Twitter shares fell 7 percent on the news.

Starbucks said that while it was suspending advertising on some social platforms, it would not join the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Zuckerberg noted that AI systems and human review teams now remove 90% of identified hate speech before anyone reports it to Facebook.

"Specifically, we're expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others", Zuckerberg wrote. Twitter said it respected the advertisers' decisions and would continue to communicate closely with them, according to the story.

It's called on Facebook to "establish and empower permanent civil rights infrastructure including C-suite level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate products and policies for discrimination, bias, and hate".

But the publicity around its hate speech policies have hurt its perception and stock.

"A handful of times a year, we make a decision to leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies because we consider that the public interest value outweighs the risk of that content", he said.


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