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

Daniel Fowler
June 29, 2020

Last week major advertisers such as Unilever, and Verizon announced a pause of their advertising on Facebook and, in some cases, also Twitter and other social media.

"From 1 July we will pause all paid advertising globally on major social media platforms". Facebook shares on Friday closed down more than 8% in response to the Unilever announcement.

Facebook depends on companies large and small for generating as much as $70 billion per year through targeted ad revenue, with big corporations making up about ¼ of that.

According to Steyer, Common Sense Media and its fellow social justice warriors from the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change and others are showing their frustration over Facebook's alleged failure to address hate speech and misinformation online.

"Overall, the policies we're implementing today are created to address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they're showing up across our community", Zuckerberg said in a post.

The candy marketer joined the July boycott on June 26, and also stated it would slash its spending with the social media giant by a third for the rest of the year, including on Instagram.

However Finnish firms joining the boycott have not been vocal about their actions.

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In a rare move last week, Zuckerberg attended a client council meeting, flanked by chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and vice-president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson, to explain the company's position over hate speech and political content moderation, seeking to assure ad companies including Omnicom and Dentsu Aegis Network.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index now estimates he's worth $82.3 billion and is the fourth richest person after Amazon.com Inc.'s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Corp.co-founder Bill Gates and LVMH Moet Hennessy titan Bernard Arnault. Those new rules would ban ads that claim people from a specific race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety or health of anyone else, Zuckerberg said.

For instance, several weeks ago when Mr Trump tweeted that mail-in voting would lead to fraud, Twitter labelled the post to fact-check it. Mr Zuckerberg left the same post alone on Facebook.

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. He added that the company will soon start labelling some of the content it leaves up because it is deemed newsworthy, so users can know when this is the case.

He explained that he stands against hate or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting and that Facebook is committed to removing that no matter where it comes from.

"We will allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society - but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies", he said. "We're continuing to review our policies, and we'll keep working with outside experts and civil rights organizations to adjust our approach as new risks emerge".

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