Coca-Cola pauses paid social media advertising as boycott heats up

The Coca-Cola Company has made the decision to 'pause' all of its social media advertising, one of the biggest moves in the growing boycott movement. The decision to pause advertising is joined by similar announcements from other big companies, including Verizon, Mozilla, Honda, Viber, Hersey, and more. "There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media," Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO James Quincey said in a statement.

In case you're out of the loop — these matters have progressed quickly, after all — the boycott is officially called #StopHateforProfit and it is directly targeted at Facebook. The boycott has been organized by the Anti-Defamation League alongside multiple other organizations like the NAACP — it is running the "Stop Hate for Profit" website with more details about its mission.

On that website, the organizers lay out the reasons for their effort, as well as their goal: to have companies boycott Facebook by not buying advertisements on its platform during the month of July. The social media platform heavily depends on advertisements for its ample revenue and as such the organizers hope that a July boycott will "send Facebook a powerful message."

The organizers allege on the campaign's website:

What would you do with $70 billion? We know what Facebook did. They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others. They named Breitbart News a "trusted news source" and made The Daily Caller a "fact-checker" despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists.

They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform. Could they protect and support Black users? Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote? They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.

The boycott is more about making a statement than starving Facebook of revenue, of course — a single month of lower advertising rates won't have a substantial long-term impact on the social media company. A handful of major corporations have joined the effort, including Unilever. Coca-Cola, however, is going to more extreme lengths by suspending all social media advertising in July, not just Facebook ads.

Coca-Cola CEO Quincey's full statement reads:

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. 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.

The statement indicates that this isn't a passive move, but rather one that will actively ask for social media companies to make changes in order to earn back Coca-Cola's ad dollars. How substantial this decision will be isn't yet clear, but the announcement adds fuel to the already extensive boycott effort.