Starbucks pauses social media ads as it targets 'hate speech'

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Facebook said it would expand its policies around hate speech and prohibit a wider category of hateful language. Coca-Cola, a major force in global advertising, was latest to join brands that said they will cease buying advertising on Facebook.

The social media giant and others like it have already run into censorship of politically-sensitive content in the past.

Facebook shares dropped by 8.32 percent, the most in three months, shedding 56 billion US dollars of its market value.

In a statement yesterday (Sunday), Starbucks said it would payse advertising on all social platforms while it discussed internally with its media partners and civil-rights organistions over stopping the spread of hate speech.

With a global advertising boycott against his platform gathering steam, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has pledged new steps to deal with misinformation and hateful content, particularly around issues related to the upcoming United States elections.

Shares of Facebook and Twitter plunged on Friday after consumer goods giant Unilever said it would pull advertisements from the social media platforms in the USA for at least the rest of the year.

Coca-Cola said it would pause all paid advertising on all social media platforms for at least 30 days. Brands like Unilever and Ben & Jerry's had also said they would pull back from advertising on Facebook.

Champions of the #StopHateForProfit boycott - led by civil rights and advocacy groups including the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - say Facebook has not done enough to keep racist, false and unsafe content or white supremacists off its platform. As a direct-to-consumer pure play, Birchbox's move represents a bigger sacrifice than other brand moves, because it is leaving two of the top platforms for direct sellers.

"The investments we have made in artificial intelligence mean that we find almost 90 per cent of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent European report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube", the company said in an email.

Facebook accounts for about 23 per cent of the entire USA digital advertising market, according to eMarketer. "They have made apologies in the past". Twitter had taken similar steps earlier. Sey acknowledged some of the recent steps Zuckerberg has taken, but "it's simply not enough", she said.

The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter and Snap in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from US President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral.

"Facebook does not have sufficient control over content and it has permitted racist discourse. We're also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them".

Facebook's website says "we remove hate speech, harassment, threats of violence and other content that has the potential to silence others or cause harm".

Now, after beginning a review three weeks ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined changes in time for the November presidential elections.

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