Coca-Cola announces pause on all social media advertising

Coca-Cola announced on Friday that it is pausing its advertising on all social media platforms for 30 days as it assesses its strategy amid a flood of criticism over tech companies’ handling of racist content on their platforms. 

James Quincey, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, said his organization would take the time to examine if changes are needed in its policy and called on social media platforms to allow greater accountability over what’s written online.

“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," he said in a 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."

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The company did not clarify if it was joining a burgeoning boycott of social media advertising that has taken off in the aftermath of national protests over systemic racism and police brutality. The company’s social media accounts have been amplifying messages advocating for systemic changes.

Coca-Cola’s announcement comes as a growing number of organizations call on Facebook advertisers to pause their ad spending on the platform. Unilever, which owns Dove, Ben & Jerry’s and Hellmann’s, also said Friday it will cease advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. at least through Dec. 31.

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The boycotts are part of an effort to pressure social media companies to adopt stricter policies regarding hate speech and disinformation. 

Other companies that have said they will pause some of their advertising include Levi’s, Dockers, Hershey’s and more.

In apparent recognition of the criticism, Facebook announced Friday it will label but leave up posts deemed “newsworthy” that violate company policies, a major reversal that comes after weeks of criticism.

“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,” CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergWe haven't seen how low it can go Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Facebook considering ban on political ads: reports MORE wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”