UNITED STATES – Starbucks on Sunday announced it was immediately suspending all of its advertising on “all social media platforms,” becoming the latest company to suspend social media advertising in the wake of criticism that companies aren’t doing enough to protect users from hate speech.
The suspension of social media advertising will not include Google-owned YouTube, a company spokesperson told CNBC.
“We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech,” Starbucks said in a statement Sunday. “We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.”
According to the statement, the company will pause all advertising on social media while continuing to have discussions “internally, with our media partners, and with civil rights organisations” about ending the spread of hate speech.
Civil rights organisations like the NAACP, Colour of Change, and Anti-Defamation League have called on major companies to suspend their advertising on Facebook following the May 25 police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis and ensuing nationwide protests over police brutality.
The campaign, called #StopHateforProfit began June 17 after Facebook refused to take action against a post made by President Donald Trump, which threatened the protesters with violence.
Trump wrote “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” and also referred to the protesters as “thugs.” The president made a similar statement on Twitter, which labeled the tweet as “glorifying violence.”
As Business Insider reported, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday the company would begin to label “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its rules on hate speech or violent speech. In response, the campaign criticised Zuckerberg’s response and offered ten steps that would “not be enough to address all of Facebook’s problems, but they would be a start.”
Starbucks joined Coca Cola in announcing an outright ban across social-media companies. On Thursday, Coca Cola announced a 30-day ban on the advertisements while the company reconsidered its own policies. Starbucks has not announced a time frame for its advertising suspension. Facebook shares have fallen since Coca Cola announced its advertising suspension, as Business Insider previously reported. The social-media giant makes nearly all of its revenue from advertising.
Other companies like The Hershey Co., Unilever, Verizon, Honda, Birchbox, Ben & Jerry’s, The North Face, REI, and Patagonia have paused their paid advertisements on Facebook, for varying amounts of time, as Business Insider reported.
Starbucks said it will continue posting to social media during its advertising boycott, according to CNBC.