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Sunday Jun 28 2020
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Coca-Cola calls off social media advertising to boycott racial discrimination

The decision was made by the multi-national firm despite Facebook said it would label potentially harmful or misleading posts left up for their news value. Photo: Reuters/File

One of the world's largest beverages producing company, Coca-Cola has announced it is suspending social media advertisements globally, at least for 30 days, as pressure builds on social media platforms to crack down on hate speech related to racial discrimination, BBC reported.

Demanding "greater accountability and transparency" from social media firms, the drinks maker's chairman and CEO James Quincey said: "There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media."

The decision was made by the multi-national firm despite Facebook saying it would label potentially harmful or misleading posts left up for their news value.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would also ban advertising containing claims "that people of a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status" are a threat to others.

The moves comes in after the organisers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which accuses Facebook of not doing enough to stop hate speech and disinformation, said the "small number of small changes" would not "make a dent in the problem".

In the wake of the campaign against racial discrimination, over 90 companies have paused advertising in support of #StopHateforProfit.

As a result of the boycott, shares in Facebook fell 8.3% on Friday, eliminating $56bn (£45bn) from the company's market value and knocking $7.2bn off Mr Zuckerberg's personal net worth, Bloomberg reported. Due to the loss, Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault replaced the Facebook founder as the world's third richest individual.

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The #StopHateforProfit movement  — which includes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — said none of the changes would be vetted or verified in this regard.

"We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meagre steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now," it added.

The campaign demanded Zuckerberg take further steps, including "establishing permanent civil rights infrastructure within his company; submitting to independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation; finding and removing public and private groups publishing such content; and creating expert teams to review complaints", said the report.