In Brief

Starbucks the latest major company to pause social media advertising


29 June 2020

Starbucks is the latest major company to pause advertising on social media over fears about the platforms' role in spreading hate speech.

“We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities,” said the company in a statement, “and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.”

The pause will see the company halt paid social media promotions. It will not, however, see the brand stop posting on social media. Starbucks also clarified that the pause would not apply to Youtube, which is owned by Google.

While not an official part of it, Starbucks' move is in line with the wider “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign organised by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and other social justice organisations. This campaign has called for a boycott of advertising on Facebook over its moderation policies around violent threats, misinformation and hate speech. The campaign has so far attracted brands such as Unilever, Patagonia, Honda and Ben & Jerry's.

Stop Hate for Profit has called for the boycott to last throughout July, in a bid to pressure Facebook to adopt stricter policies against racist and hateful content. Facebook currently makes $70bn in annual advertising revenue.

Coca-Cola has also announced that it is to pause all digital advertising on social media platforms from 1 July. Drinks brand Diageo has made a similar promise.