Starbucks Joins Coca-Cola, Other Brands to Boycott Social Media Ads; #StopHateforProfit Campaign Will Go Global


Starbucks will suspend advertising on some social media platforms in response to hate speech. The coffee company has become the latest business to pause social media advertising, joining the growing list of brands such as Coca-Cola, Diageo, and Unilever which have recently suspended its paid social media marketing efforts.

In a blog post on Sunday, June 28, the coffee giant said it stands “against hate speech” as it believes in “bringing communities together, both in person and online.” The article entitled “Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Online Communities” also states that “both business leaders and policymakers need to come together to affect real change.”

“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,” Starbucks said in the blog post.

The social media advertising suspension will not include YouTube, a Starbucks spokesperson told The Verge. However, the company will continue to post on social media, but not make paid advertisements.

Starbucks’ announcement came after Coca-Cola compelled social media firms to have “greater social accountability.”

Coca Cola will pause 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. through 2020, according to BBC News.

The company’s social media suspensions are in response to Facebook’s moderation approach over the content on its platform, which is “too hands-off.” On Friday, June 26, Facebook said it would label potentially harmful or misleading posts.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said the company would ban advertising claiming that people of a certain race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation are threats to others.

After it was launched earlier this month The “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign has already received support from over 160 companies that have vowed to stop advertising over social media for July.

In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, June 27, the campaign’s organizer Common Sense Media Chief Executive Jim Steyer said they will begin calling on major companies in Europe to join the boycott.

Common Sense, Free Press as well as U.S. civil rights groups Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change launched the campaign after George Floyd’s death in the hands of a Minneapolis police. The #StopHateforProfit organizers accused Facebook’s unsatisfactory actions to stop hate speech and disinformation as few small changes made by Facebook would not “make a dent in the problem.”

“The next frontier is global pressure,” said Steyer adding that they will urge global companies to pull their Facebook ads globally, particularly Unilever and Honda, which have only vowed to suspend their U.S. advertisements.

Earlier this month, the European Commission asked tech companies like Facebook to submit monthly reports on how they manage misinformation about coronavirus.

Meanwhile, both Starbucks and Coca Cola said they would not join the #StopHateForProfit campaign, despite the latter being listed as a “participating business” and the brands’ suspension of social media advertising.

Read also: Facebook Boycott: Unilever, Verizon, and More Joins Pledge to Pull Out Ads


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