More companies halt ads on Facebook despite new plans to curb hate speech

More companies are joining big brands including Unilever, Honda and Verizon in halting advertising on Facebook despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining several steps the social network will take to combat hate speech.

On Friday night, The Hershey Company confirmed in a statement it will join a boycott involving several companies that will halt advertising for July. Hershey also said it will cut spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year.

“We do not believe that Facebook is effectively managing violent and divisive speech on their platform,” said The Hershey Company in a statement. “Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change.”

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola said it plans to pause advertising on all social media platforms for at least 30 days while it revisits its advertising policies. “We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners,” reads a statement from James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. The latest advertising stoppages follow remarks Friday by Zuckerberg, who detailed multiple steps the company will take ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Among the planned steps: pushing back against voter suppression, boosting standards for hateful content in ads, and labeling content deemed newsworthy. “I’m optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting,” wrote Zuckerberg. “I’m committed to making sure Facebook is a force for good on this journey.”

Multiple companies have said they will halt advertising on the platform, citing Facebook’s struggles to contain hate speech on its platform. Verizon’s decision is part of a larger #StopHateForProfit campaign, which includes the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

After Coke joined the boycott, Rashad Robinson, president of civil rights organization Color Of Change, tweeted: “One of the most recognizable global brands in the world is halting their @Facebook advertising. Coke’s commitment to #StopHateForProfit, along with Unilever and Verizon just in the last 24 hours, is a warning sign for Facebook.”

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