Facebook says it will flag all “commentable” posts by politicians, including President Donald Trump, that could incite violence, crack down on voting or violate his other content rules. (June 26) AP Tech
Starbucks on Sunday joined the beat of brands that promise to pull advertising from Facebook and other social media platforms or take other actions, putting economic pressure on companies to address concerns about containing hate speech.
The coffee chain joins major brands, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Hershey, Honda, Eddie Bauer, The North Face, Levi’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Verizon in several stages.
Much of the activity stems from the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which includes NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.
While some of the brands have pledged to stop advertising in July, some are taking additional steps or different approaches.
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“We will pause advertising on all social media platforms as long as we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and civil rights organizations, in an effort to prevent the spread of hate speech,” Starbucks said in a statement. The company said it was not part of the boycott.
Hershey said it will cut spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third over the rest of the year. Coca-Cola said it plans to stop advertising on all social media platforms for at least 30 days while reviewing its advertising policies.
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“We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners,” says James Quincey, president and CEO of Coca-Cola.
Patagonia, REI, Mozilla and Upwork and about 100 smaller companies said they were committed to the advertising boycott.
After Coca-Cola joined the boycott, Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights organization Color Of Change, tweeted: “One of the most recognized global brands in the world is interrupting its advertising on @Facebook. Coca-Cola’s commitment to #StopHateForProfit, together with Unilever and Verizon in the past 24 hours alone, is a wake-up call for Facebook “.
On Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described in a live broadcast several steps that he said the social network will take before the 2020 presidential elections to combat hate speech. Among the planned steps: step back against suppression of voters, raise standards for hateful content in ads, and label content deemed worthy of note.
Facebook’s policies around dividing posts were examined after the platform came out and published a post from President Donald Trump after protests over George Floyd’s death. In the post, Trump said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.
Zuckerberg defended leaving the post untouched, saying that Facebook should allow as much freedom of speech as possible. A similar post posted on Twitter posted a warning that the tweet was “glorifying violence”.
“I am optimistic that we can make progress in public health and racial justice, maintaining our democratic traditions around freedom of speech and voting,” wrote Zuckerberg on Friday. “I am committed to ensuring that Facebook is a force for good on this journey.”
How much the campaign hurts Facebook depends on how many companies get involved.
“If we are limited to 10 to 15 renowned advertisers joining the boycott, I think it is more symbolic and would have a limited impact on Facebook’s business.” said Baird analyst Colin Sebastian. “The fear is that these snowballs will turn into something much bigger.”
Last week, during a speech at the Cannes Lion Live, Marc Pritchard, P&G’s brand director, said the company would conduct a “comprehensive review” of where it is advertising. “When standards of responsibility and civility are not met, we will stop spending, as we did before,” he said.
Among the steps Zuckerberg outlined on Friday: posts that normally violate their policies, but remain on the platform, will include a label noting that the content they are sharing may violate their policies. He also said the company would not provide any exception to content that incites violence or suppresses voting.
“Even if a politician or government official says so, if we determine that the content can lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will remove that content,” he said. “Likewise, there are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies that I am announcing here today.”
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“People can agree or disagree on where we should draw the line, but I hope they understand our general philosophy: it is better to have this discussion open, especially when the stakes are so high,” said Zuckerberg earlier this month. .
The decision sparked protests from current and former officials, calling for more action. Several employees went on Twitter to protest the decision, while a group of former Facebook employees wrote an open letter published by The New York Times calling the company’s action a “coward”.
Zuckerberg said on Friday that Facebook plans to expand what qualifies as odious content in ads, banning “allegations that people of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or status immigration are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others “.
The policies will also focus on advertisements targeted at immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. “We have already restricted certain types of content in ads that we allow on regular posts, but we want to do more to ban the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that was used to sow discord,” said Zuckerberg.
Contribution: Kelly Tyko.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.
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