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It’s Not Just Facebook: Companies Are Pausing All Social Media Advertising

By Rich Duprey – Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 10:56AM

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Businesses assess spending money on social media platforms where alleged hate speech proliferates.

What started as an organized campaign to have advertisers boycott Facebook (META -1.69%) looks to be organically evolving into numerous companies declaring that they're "pausing" their advertising on all social media platforms.

Starbucks (SBUX -0.63%) became the latest national brand to say social media needed to do more to stop the spread of hate speech, and it was having internal discussions about how to proceed. But the coffee chain said it was not joining the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign, the protest by the progressive Color of Change organization promoting the ad boycott.

Scissors cutting dollar bills

Image source: Getty Images.

Money not well spent

While some 160 companies have targeted Facebook and Instagram for an ad boycott, a number of companies are beginning to expand the list of tech platforms they will stop advertising on, including Coca-Cola, Diageo, and consumer products giant Unilever, which said it would stop advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (TWTR 0.43%) for the rest of the year.

Facebook generates some $69 billion in annual revenue from advertising, while Twitter reported $3 billion worth, 55% of which comes from the U.S.

Alphabet (GOOG -1.39%) (GOOGL -1.40%) seems to be avoiding the fallout, as Starbucks said its social media advertising pause did not include YouTube. That may be because YouTube had been the target of a similar activist campaign in 2017 and took measures to censor content deemed controversial. Twitter, though, has also been actively canceling views it believes are out of the mainstream, even labeling some of President Trump's tweets as "misleading."

Earlier this month, Snap (SNAP -1.34%) said it would not promote the president's content on its platform.

Companies, though, were already looking to cut their advertising budgets due to the limited returns being realized because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Starbucks, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends Diageo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
$84.17 (-0.63%) $0.53
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
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Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$98.74 (-1.40%) $-1.40
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$41.58 (0.43%) $0.18
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$99.17 (-1.39%) $-1.40
Snap Inc. Stock Quote
Snap Inc.
$10.32 (-1.34%) $0.14

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