Starbucks suspends social media ads for hate speech

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Starbucks has announced that it will suspend advertising on some social media platforms in response to hate speech.

The coffee giant joins global brands like Coca-Cola, Diageo and Unilever that recently removed advertising from social platforms.

A Starbucks spokesperson told the BBC that the “pause” on social media would not include YouTube, which is owned by Google.

“We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online,” Starbucks said in a statement.

The brand said it “would hold internal conversations and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech.” But it will continue to post on social media without paid promotion, she said.

The announcement came after Coca-Cola called for “greater responsibility” from social media companies.

Coca Cola said it would stop advertising on all social media platforms globally, while Unilever, owner of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said it would stop advertising on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the United States “at least” until 2020 .

The ads follow controversy over Facebook’s approach to moderating content on its platform, seen by many as too foreign. It came after Facebook said Friday that it would start tagging potentially harmful or misleading posts that have been left for their news value.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would also ban advertising containing claims “that people of a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status” are a threat to others. .

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Media captionMark Zuckerberg told the BBC’s Simon Jack that Facebook would ‘remove’ misinformation about the coronavirus

Organizers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which accused Facebook of not doing enough to stop hate speech and disinformation, said the “small number of small changes” would not “affect the problem.”

Starbucks said that while suspending advertising on some social platforms, it would not join the #StopHateForProfit campaign. More than 90 companies have stopped advertising in support of #StopHateforProfit.

Coca-Cola also told CNBC that its ad suspension did not mean it would join the campaign, despite being listed as a “participating business.”

The campaign has asked Zuckerberg to take further steps, including establishing a permanent civil rights “infrastructure” on Facebook; undergo independent identity-based hate and misinformation audits; find and remove public and private groups that publish such content; and creating expert teams to review complaints.

Last year, Facebook experienced a 27% increase in ad revenue from the previous year.