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Facebook ad boycott campaign to go global, Pepsi to stop ads on social media platform

WION logo WION 29-06-2020 (Wion Web Team)
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Organizers of a Facebook Inc advertising boycott campaign that has drawn support from a list of major companies are now preparing to take the battle global to increase pressure on the social media company to remove hate speech, reported news agency Reuters.

The "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign will begin calling on major companies in Europe to join the boycott, Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, said in an interview with Reuters on Saturday. 

Since the campaign launched earlier this month, more than 160 companies, including Verizon Communications and Unilever Plc, have signed on to stop buying ads on the world’s largest social media platform for the month of July, the report said.

Free Press and Common Sense, along with US civil rights groups Colour of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the campaign following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police.

"The next frontier is global pressure," Steyer said, adding the campaign hopes to embolden regulators in Europe to take a harder stance on Facebook. 

The outrage in the United States over the death of Floyd has led to an unprecedented reaction from corporations around the world. Its impact has been felt beyond US borders. Unilever, for example, changed the name of a skin-lightening product popular in India called Fair and Lovely.

Steyer said they will urge global advertisers such as Unilever and Honda, which have only committed to pausing US ads, to pull their Facebook ads globally.

Annually, Facebook generates $70 billion in advertising sales and about a quarter of it comes from big companies such as Unilever with the vast majority of its revenue derived from small businesses.

But the publicity around its hate speech policies have hurt its perception and stock. On Friday, Facebook's 8.3% decline in stock price wiped out $56 billion in market capitalization.

The boycott has accelerated to include other digital advertising platforms such as Twitter. Starbucks said Sunday it would pause advertising on all social media platforms while it works with civil rights organizations to "stop the spread of hate speech."

PepsiCo Inc will stop advertising on Facebook Inc, FOX Business Network reported, citing sources.

The halt on advertising will run through July and August, the report said. 

Sources described the move as a "global boycott" on placing Facebook ads, the report said.

The food and beverage company joins a growing number of companies pulling ad dollars from Facebook.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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