“As a sign against racism, Coca-Cola is now suspending all advertising on all online networks for at least 30 days.” There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Chief Executive James Quincey said on Friday.
Facebook, Twitter & Co. should show more “transparency and responsibility,” he said. But his decision had nothing to do with the Anti-Defamation League’s campaign. Coca-Cola will now review its advertising strategy and “see if any corrections are needed,” he said. Coca-Cola is one of the most famous brands in the world and spends huge sums on advertising.
On Thursday, US telecoms company Verizon announced that it was suspending its advertising on Facebook. Sports goods manufacturers Patagonia and North Face followed, clothing maker Levi’s, as well as British-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever.
Unilever announced that it would no longer advertise on the online networks Facebook, Instagram and Twitter until the end of the year in the United States because of the US presidential election in November.
“The polarized atmosphere imposes an increased responsibility on brands to build a trustworthy and secure digital ecosystem,” the company wrote in a statement on Twitter.
The advertising waiver applies from now on. Unilever’s product range ranges from food brands such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to personal care brands such as Dove. In the USA, the Group is one of the largest advertisers of the online networks.
“Stop hatred for profit” is the demand
This was preceded by a call for a boycott by the Anti-Defamation League as part of a campaign entitled “Stop hatred for profit”.
Facebook, meanwhile, is responding to the ongoing criticism: The online network is expanding its crackdown on hate messages and wants to mark problematic posts from politicians in the future. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday that a wider range of paid ads, including election ads, would be banned.
According to Zuckerberg, allegations that people of a particular “race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status pose a threat to the physical safety, health, or survival of others” are banned.
“Immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers” should also be protected from advertisements that they consider to be inferior or despicable.
More markings announced
Facebook also wants to tag messages from politicians in certain cases if they violate the network’s rules, as Zuckerberg writes. “Some times a year we leave content that would otherwise violate our rules if the public interest is greater than the risk of harm.”
This is the case, for example, with politicians’ speeches, which have a news value. In the future, this should be pointed out if such content violates Facebook’s rules. The content will be marked accordingly, but not removed.
There are no exceptions when messages can lead to violence or suppression of the right to vote, Zuckerberg stressed. Such content would be deleted. The Facebook chief pointed to the campaign for the US presidential election in November, which is likely to be particularly “hot.”
In recent weeks, repeated posts by US President Donald Trump have caused a stir. Twitter recently repeatedly hid tweets from the right-wing populist over a warning for “glorification of violence” or “abusive behavior.” Twitter also subjected the president’s statements to a fact check.
Facebook, on the other hand, did not take such measures – and has been widely criticized for doing so. Presidential elections will be held in the United States on 3 November. Supporters of incumbent Donald Trump and his opponents are often irreconcilable.