All paid advertisements on all social media platform globally will be stopped for at least 30 days by Coca-Cola, the company has announced. In its statement however the company confirmed that it would not be joining the official advertisement boycott campaign of social media platforms by companies, but said “we are pausing” advertising.
After the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign was started by Free Press and Common Sense, along with U.S. civil rights groups Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League.
Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, said in an interview with Reuters that more than 160 companies, including Verizon Communications and Unilever Plc, have pledged to stop purchasing ads on Facebook for the month of July.
According to a running list from Sleeping Giants, other companies that have joined the campaign include Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face.
“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Coca-Cola CEO and Chairman, James Quincey, said in a statement. “The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”
The company is engaged in regular posting of quotes about diversity and had ended systemic racism on its Twitter account which includes supporting NASCAR’s only Black driver, Bubba Wallace, the beverage giant said.
Last week, consumer goods making giant Unilever, owners of brands such as Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Hellmann’s, had announced pausing of advertisements on the social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States for at least the rest of the current year.
The aim of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign was to create pressure on social media companies – specifically Facebook, by drying off their revenues from corporate advertisements, to do more to stringently remove hate speech and disinformation. The campaigners have demanded that the social media companies should take a number of actions, including creating a “separate moderation pipeline” for users who complain of being targeted on such platforms because of their race or religion, or to let advertisers see the frequency of their ads appearing close to content that was later removed for misinformation or hate. The campaigners also demanded that advertisers should be refunded for such advertisements.
Soon after the announcement by Coca Cola about its advertisements on social media, similar announcements were made by Levi’s and Dockers – both the companies will be halting paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram till “at least” July.
“Facebook must take actions to stop misinformation and hate speech on its platforms. It is an unacceptable affront to our values. We and Dockers are joining the #stophateforprofit campaign and pausing all ads on Facebook,” the companies said in a statement.
Cutting down on spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year and supporting the #stophateforprofit boycott campaign was made by Hershey’s.
“We do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform. Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change,” the company said in a statement. “Earlier this month we communicated to Facebook that we were unhappy with their stance on hate speech. We have now cut our spending on Facebook and their platforms, including Instagram, by a third for the remainder of the year. We are hopeful that Facebook will take action and make it a safe space for our consumers to communicate and gather. As a company, we stand for the values of togetherness and inclusion and we are resolute in our commitment to make a difference and be part of positive change.”
(Adapted from CNBC.com)