Coke and Starbucks just suspended their Facebook ads. Here’s why.

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Starbucks and Coca Cola are the latest brands to pull or pause their advertising spend with Facebook, as Stop Hate for Profit campaign causes a mass social media exodus.

“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Coca-Cola Company chairman and chief James Quincey said in a statement.

The company is pausing its paid advertising on Facebook for 30 days, during which time the global drinks giant will “reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed”, he added.

“We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”

International coffee giant Starbucks also issued a statement saying more should be done “to create welcoming and inclusive online communities”.

“We believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change,” the statement said.

Starbucks is also pausing its advertising on all social media platforms, rather than pulling it completely, and will “continue discussions internally”.

However, neither brand has officially joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which is continuing to gather momentum.

Launched by advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and the Colour Of Change, the movement calls on advertisers to put pressure on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to adopt stricter policies against hate speech and harassment.

Brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever, freelancing platform Upwork and internet company Mozilla are reportedly pulling their ads from Facebook as part of the campaign.

The move follows Facebook’s refusal to take action on problematic posts from President Donald Trump, following the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody last month, and the subsequent protests in the US and all over the world.

Zuckerberg refused to remove Trump’s posts, or label them as problematic, citing Facebook’s commitment to freedom of expression. This led to a virtual walkout of staff, and condemnation from a group of early employees.

In an open letter to companies that advertise on Facebook, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt called on businesses to pause ad spending on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July.

“Every day, we see ads from companies placed adjacent to hateful content, occupying the same space as extremist recruitment groups and harmful disinformation campaigns.

“Your ad buying dollars are being used by the platform to increase its dominance in the industry at the expense of vulnerable and marginalised communities who are often targets of hate groups on Facebook,” Greenblatt said.

“Hate on Facebook is not good for advertisers.”

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