Starbucks latest to pause social media ads over call for Facebook's boycott

The coffee chain's announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap. Photo: Reuters

Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause social media ads after a campaign led by civil rights organizations called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it doesn't do enough to stop racist and violent content.

Starbucks said Sunday that its actions were not part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, but that it is pausing its social ads while talking with civil rights organizations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.

The coffee chain's announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; cellphone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi's and dozens of smaller companies. Some of the companies will pause ads just on Facebook, while others will refrain from advertising more broadly on social media.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services.

Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good, said Everson, vice president of Facebook's global business group.

Facebook's market value dropped Friday by more than 8 per cent, or about $50 billion, as more companies said they would pause ads.

Twitter stock also dropped more than 7 per cent Friday.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said Friday the company's mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely.

She added that Twitter is respectful of our partners' decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.



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