Starbucks pauses social media ads to fight against `hate speech`

Marco Green
June 29, 2020

Facebook said its investments in artificial intelligence have allowed it to find 90% of hate speech before users report it.

Steyer said they will urge global advertisers such as Unilever and Honda, which have only committed to pausing USA ads, to pull their Facebook ads globally.

Here is a list of some of the major advertisers who are limiting or stopping their advertising on Facebook, with estimates of what they spent a year ago in the United States from the advertising analytics platform Pathmatics. Unilever has spent about $11.8 million on Facebook ads in the US this year, according to Pathmatics, which estimated that the company last year spent just over $42 million on the platform.

Those behind the #StopHateforProfit campaign say Facebook has apologised in the past too, promised to concrete steps but nothing happened except "meagre" steps.

Reportedly more than 100 brands in the United States, including majors like Unilever, Verizon, CocaCola, Honda and the chocolate brand Hershey, have committed to contain advertisements on Facebook.

Unilever's joining of the boycott put significant pressure on Facebook, said Nicole Perrin, the principal analyst at the market research firm eMarketer.

Initially, numerous participants in the boycott were small advertising companies that make up most of Facebook's advertisers, but recently some big named have joined too. The US media landscape has been deluged by a wave of calls for advertiser boycotts that came in the wake of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

"There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media", Mr James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, said in a brief statement.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services. As one of the largest advertisers in the world, its moves could influence other brand advertisers to follow its lead, she said.

Facebook's stock dropped 8% in Friday trading, following Unilever's announcement. However, companies take the call nearly on a daily basis. In an e-mail to advertising partners, the company highlighted the software it uses to detect hate speech, which has improved over the years, and its efforts to circulate verified information around the elections with a new informational hub and a goal to register four million new voters.

Rashad Robinson, President of the Civil rights group of Color of Change, was not at all happy with Zuckerberg's address.

In a statement shared with exchange4media, Verizon Media said: "Our brand safety standards have not changed". The social media giant will also "label" some less problematic speeches. "There is no newsworthy exemptions to content that incites violence or suppresses voting".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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