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Starbucks pauses social media ads amid Facebook boycott call

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Starbucks has become the latest company to say it will suspend social media adverts after a campaign led by civil rights organisations called for an advertising boycott of Facebook.

The coffee chain said on Sunday that its actions were not part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign but that it is pausing its advertising while talking to civil rights organisations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.

Starbucks’ announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer goods giant behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; mobile phone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi’s and dozens of smaller companies.

Some of the firms will pause adverts just on Facebook while others will refrain from advertising more broadly on social media.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organisations are about how, together, we can be a force for good,” said Ms Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group.

Facebook’s market value dropped on Friday by more than 8%, or about 50 billion dollars, as more companies said they would pause ads. Twitter stock also dropped more than 7% on Friday.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said on Friday the company’s “mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely”.

She added that Twitter is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time”.

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