The Coca-Cola Company announced today to pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. “There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” wrote James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company in a public statement on the company’s website.
The boycott is mainly geared towards Facebook, whose co-founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, refused for a long time to label or ban hate speech or fake news. Especially incendiary posts from U.S. President Donald Trump, which were not banned or labeled by Facebook, were of major concern not only to human right groups. When criticized about not taking any action on Trump’s post about shootings in Minnesota in May which according to many “glorified violence,” Zuckerberg said “we should enable as much expression as possible.” While Twitter chose the same week to add a contextual link to two Trump tweets about mail fraud and hide another behind an interstitial warning for “glorifying violence” Facebook chose not to do so.
Facebook is now facing an organized boycott from advertisers, including Microsoft, Hershey, Honda, and Verizon. Others like Coca Cola, Starbucks, and Unilever have even gone a step further in pulling advertising from all social media platforms.
Mark Zuckerberg responded to the boycott on – of course – Facebook, saying that “we will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society -- but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies.”
Zuckerberg also stressed that he will provide authoritative information on voting during the pandemic, take additional steps to fight voter surpression in this year’s elections and create a higher standard for hateful content in ads.
“We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed.,” stated James Quincey. “We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”