Starbucks latest company to pause ads across social media platforms


People wear protective face masks outside Starbucks in midtown as the city moves into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 23, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause advertising on “all social media platforms” and promises to have discussions internally and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech. The company will continue to post on social media without paid promotion, it announced Sunday.

“We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech,” the company said in a statement Sunday. “We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change.”

Starbucks is the latest major advertiser to make such an announcement amid a boycott that began with Facebook but is now hitting other social media platforms. Coca Cola on Friday also said it would pause advertising on all social media platforms globally, while Unilever is halting advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. through Dec. 31. On Saturday, spirits giant Diageo said it will be pausing paid advertising globally on “major social media platforms” beginning in July. A Starbucks spokesman said this social media pause will not include YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Starbucks said though it is pausing advertising, it isn’t joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott campaign, which kicked off earlier this month. 

After a group of organizations called on Facebook advertisers to pause their ad spend during the month of July, more than 100 marketers including Levi’s, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face have announced their intention to join, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants. The group of organizations includes the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense, which have asked “large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.” 

The organizations said they’re asking Facebook to more stringently police hate speech and disinformation by taking a number of actions, including creating a “separate moderation pipeline” for users who say they’ve been targeted because of their race or religion, or to let advertisers see how frequently their ads appeared near content that was later removed for misinformation or hate, and allow them refunds for those advertisements. 

Last year, Facebook brought in $69.7 billion in ad revenue globally through its millions of advertisers. 

CNBC’s Amelia Lucas contributed to this report. 



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