Coke, Unilever join Facebook ad boycott

Coca-Cola on Friday threw its weight behind an ad boycott against social media companies for not doing enough to tackle hate speech. Coke said it will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days.

Shares of Facebook were already down ahead of the news.

Early on Friday, Unilever shook things up when it joined the ranks of Verizon and others who have backed the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign.

But the global brand behind supermarket staples like Dove soap, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Lipton tea went a step further than the others.

Not only will it stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram platforms in the U.S. for the rest of 2020 - it is also staying away from Twitter. Twitter shares fell 7 percent on the news.

Citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.,” Unilever went on to explain in a statement, “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society.”

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the NAACP and digital civil rights group Color of Change have urged companies to pressure Facebook to do more to stop hate speech.

Twitter responded in a statement, saying it has developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve the public conversation and is committed to amplifying voices from under-represented communities and marginalized groups. And will continue to work with its business partners.

In his weekly Facebook video chat with employees, CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t address the protest directly but said Facebook will start labeling newsworthy content that would otherwise violate its policies.

Earlier this week, consumer products powerhouse Procter & Gamble - another top Facebook spender, said it would carry out a review and would stop buying ads where it found hateful content.

Shares of Facebook finished down by 8 percent.