Starbucks suspends social media ads in effort to tackle "hate speech"

This June 26, 2019, file photo shows a Starbucks sign outside a Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh, US
This June 26, 2019, file photo shows a Starbucks sign outside a Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh, US Copyright AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File
By Alessio Dell'Anna with AP
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It's the latest company to block its social media ads following worldwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.


Starbucks said is pausing its social media ads in "an effort to stop hate speech".

It comes 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, though the company did not say the move was connected to the campaign.

"We will pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

The coffee chain's announcement follows statements from Unilever, 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 them are pausing 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.

On June 19, she had announced new initiatives for the Black community on Facebook, like a new "Lift Black Voices" space on the app, "to highlight stories from black people and inspire people to support racial justice causes, and surfacing accounts on Instagram search to help people to do the same."

Facebook's market value dropped by more than 8% on Friday, while Twitter, another major social media platform, lost 7% on the same day.

The company said on Friday that its “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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