Unilever PLC said on Friday it will stop advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the United States for the rest of the year, citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.”
The consumer goods company, which owns brands like Dove Soap and Lipton tea, joins a growing advertising boycott against Facebook as part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign started by U.S. civil rights groups after the death of George Floyd. The effort called on Facebook, which owns Instagram, to do more to stop hate speech.
“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary,” Unilever said in a statement.
Facebook shares fell as much as 7.3 per cent, while Twitter shares fell as much as 8.2 per cent. Facebook has been telling advertisers that it bases its policies on principles, not business interests, according to its communications with marketers. The Menlo Park, California-based company has been reaching out to advertisers to discuss its recent initiatives on registering voters and distributing verified election information.
Unilever joins other companies including its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s as well as Verizon Communications Inc. and Patagonia in pulling ads from some of the world’s largest social media platforms due to inaction over hate speech.
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Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
© Thomson Reuters 2020, with files from Bloomberg