Why some big brands have stopped digital advertising on social media platforms

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There have been ways of change across the globe resulting from the anti-racism and Black Lives Matter protests Stateside in recent weeks, and to date we’ve seen a number of tech firms take steps within their organisations. Now big brands are also taking steps, and in particular halting digital advertising on all social media platforms.

Perhaps the most high-profile brand to do so is Coca-Cola, which announced that it would be halting its digital advertising on all social media platforms from 1st July onwards, with the company joining the Stop Hate for Profit initiative.

“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media. The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days,” explained Coca-Cola company CEO, James Quincey, in an official statement.

“We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners,” he added.

Following its actions over the weekend, a number of other big brands have adopted a similar approach, with the likes of Unilever and Starbucks, also halting aspects of its digital advertising, with Facebook in particular being cited.

“We will pause advertising on all social media platforms while we continue discussions internally, with our media partners and with civil rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech,” noted Starbucks regarding its involvement with botcotts, but also pointed out that it is not officially joining Stop Hate for Profit.

With Facebook being specifically highlighted as a social media platform that has taken a lax approach to moderation by the Stop Hate for Profit initiative, CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a response, and announced several policy changes that the company is working on.

“Many of the changes we’re announcing today come directly from feedback from the civil rights community and reflect months of work with our civil rights auditors, led by noted civil rights and liberties expert Laura W. Murphy and Megan Cacace, a partner at the respected civil rights law firm of Relman & Colfax. Facebook stands for giving people a voice — especially people who have previously not had as much voice or power to share their experiences,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Whether the changes that the CEO has outlined will indeed be implemented remains to be seen, but following backlash from his own employees, it looks like the loss of advertising revenue is the tactic needed for Facebook to take action.

In the coming days, it will be interesting to see whether the boycott is limited to digital advertising in the United States alone, or across the globe as well.

[Image – Photo by Markus Lompa on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.