Starbucks, Coca-Cola and other huge brands have stopped advertising on Facebook - here's why

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 10:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 11:13 am
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is under pressure to update the site's approach to the removal of harmful content on its platform (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It's a social media movement that has seen support from hundreds of major companies and celebrities, but what exactly is the #StopHateForProfit campaign?

Here's everything you need to know:

What is #StopHateForProfit?

#StopHateForProfit is a campaign that calls on major companies to suspend paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

It's an effort to dent the profits of a social media network seen as failing to curb the rise of hate speech and racism on its platform.

The movement sprung up in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in May, and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests that swept the globe.

With Facebook seeing an influx of misinformation on police brutality and racism following the demonstrations, the social media giant refused to take action against Donald Trump's now infamous "when the looting stars, the shooting starts" post in late May.

Twitter flexed its moderation powers - flagging a President's Tweets for the first time in history for glorifying violence.

But Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said censoring Trump's posts would not be the "right reflex."

"I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn't be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online," he said.

(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in protest of the company’s lack of action on 1 June, and the #StopHateForProfit campaign was launched a couple of weeks later on 17 June.

A joint effort between advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and the Colour Of Change, its aim is to draw awareness to the failings of Facebook and its inability to police harmful content posted to its site.

For more information on #StopHateForProfit, head to the official website

Which companies are involved?

The #StopHateForProfit campaign has been joined by a number of high-profile companies, who have opted to boycott the site and suspend their advertising there.

Some of the biggest to pull their ads include Coca-Cola and Starbucks; the latter's boycott reportedly shrunk Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth by £6bn.

Consumer goods company Unilever have also signed up, along with Verizon Communications, Honda’s US operation, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Outdoor clothing companies REI, Patagonia and The North Face joined the campaign recently, and freelance job listing site Upwork and open-source software developer Mozilla are also involved.

For a full list of companies participating in #StopHateForProfit, head to the campaign's website

Has it made a difference?

Facebook is still being regarded as slow to act, but a number of small steps forward have been taken in recent weeks.

Just days after #StopHateForProfit's launch, Facebook removed ads from Trump’s re-election campaign which featured an upside down red triangle similar to iconography historically used by the Nazis.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A few days later, it released a blog post acknowledging it had more to do.

It said: “We continue to welcome dialog on how we can do more to take action and help ensure that our platform and policies are used to build an inclusive society."

Carolyn Everson, VP Global Business Group Facebook said on #StopHateForProfit: “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organisations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

On 27 June, Facebook agreed to label potentially harmful posts that it does not delete, saying that such posts may still be perceived to carry "news value."