Coca-Cola joins Facebook boycott with a pause on all social media advertising starting July 1st.
Coca-Cola is pausing all digital advertising on social media platforms, for at least 30 days starting on the first of July, the company announced on Friday, 26th. It is now certain that the company has decided to actively participate in a broader boycott of Facebook and Instagram organized by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and other organizations called the “Stop Hate For Profit” campaign.
Coca-Cola has made a step higher than that of other companies as it shuts down advertising on all social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook inclusive. This suggests that the “hold” will hit Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms as well.
“Starting on July 1, The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days,” reads a statement from Coca-Cola Company CEO James Quincey posted to the brand’s website.
“We will take this time to reassess our advertising standards and policies to determine whether revisions are needed internally, and what more we should expect of our social media partners to rid the platforms of hate, violence and inappropriate content. We will let them know we expect greater accountability, action and transparency from them.”
Earlier, also on the 26th, Unilever joined Verizon as the two largest companies participating in the boycott prior to Coca-Cola’s involvement. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg also announced a series of policy changes that, while not explicitly in response to the boycott, appear designed to try and address many of the criticisms the company has faced of late regarding its lack of moderation of violent threats, hate speech, and misinformation posted by President Donald Trump and other controversial accounts and pages.
“This continues a significant trend of major brands including Unilever and Verizon committing to pause Facebook ads for at least the month of July,” reads a statement from progressive nonprofit Color of Change, one of the organizers of the boycott. “Since Color Of Change and its partners, including the ADL and NAACP, launched the campaign on June 17, over 100 brands have signed on.”
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson said on Friday that chocolate brand Hershey’s is also joining the boycott.
Yet, while the boycott is creating a lot of tension for Facebook, right now, it is not certain that even with major advertisers pausing ad spending for one month, it will have a substantial effect on Facebook’s bottom line, as a majority of the company’s ad revenue comes from direct-response ads from small and medium-sized businesses.
“We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies,” a Facebook spokesperson told NBC News earlier today in response to Unilever’s announcement. “We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM, and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”
Facebook did not respond immediately to a request for comment regarding Coca-Cola’s decision.
The Stop Hate For Profit campaign launched last week, starting with popular sports and outdoor lifestyle brands like The North Face and Patagonia. It has since gained steam with mainstream corporate America after picking up support from ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s and film distributor Magnolia Pictures. In an open letter posted yesterday, the ADL provides more concrete details regarding the changes the boycott seeks to produce in Facebook’s policies and its approach to moderation.
“Today, we are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July,” read an ad the Stop Hate For Profit campaign ran in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”