Starbucks suspends social media ads for hate speech

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

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

A Starbucks spokesman told the BBC that the social media “break” would not include YouTube, owned by Google.

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

The brand said it “would have internal discussions and with media partners and civil rights organizations to prevent the spread of hate speech”. But it will continue to be posted on social media without paid promotion, he 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 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said it would stop advertising on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. “at least” by 2020.

The ads follow controversies over Facebook’s approach to moderating content on its platform – seen by many as being too easy. The site came after Facebook announced on Friday that it would begin labeling potentially harmful or misleading posts that were left for the value of the news.

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

Starbucks suspends social media ads over hate speech - BBC News
Source: BBC

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

Starbucks said that while suspending advertising on some social platforms, it would not participate in the #StopHateForProfit campaign. More than 150 companies have paused advertising in support of #StopHateforProfit.

Coca-Cola also told CNBC that its suspension of advertising did not mean it was participating in the campaign, despite being listed as a “participating company”.

The campaign urged Zuckerberg to take other measures, including establishing permanent civil rights “infrastructure” on Facebook; undergo independent hate and misinformation audits based on identity; find and remove public and private groups that publish that content; and creation of teams of experts to analyze complaints.

In an interview with Reuters, one of the campaign organizers said he was also asking European companies to join the boycott. “The next frontier is global pressure,” said Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media. He added that the campaign expects European regulators to take a tougher stance on social media companies like Facebook.

In June, the European Commission announced new guidelines for companies to send monthly reports on how they are dealing with the wrong information related to the coronavirus.

Last year, Facebook recorded a 27% increase in advertising revenue over the previous year.

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