Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation has reportedly announced the discontinuation of its social media advertising campaign in an effort to discover ways to stop the spread of hate speech in line with a growing corporate initiative. The company has decided to follow the example of other industrial majors including Coca-Cola and Unilever that have announced similar pauses citing an intense national debate over racism in addition to frequent bursts of ugly speech on social media.
Sources claim that numerous social media majors, especially Facebook, have faced severe criticism for the elimination of hate-filled posts, and the NAACP, the big civil rights group defending African Americans’ interests, and the Anti-Defamation League that fights anti-Semitism have called for an advertising boycott of Facebook in the following month. However, major players including Coca-Cola and Starbucks have refused to join the boycott.
Starbucks firmly believes in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and stands against hate speech, said the Seattle-based company, adding that much more needs to be done for the creation of welcoming and inclusive online communities. The company also believes that policy makers and business leaders must come together in order to affect real change.
For the record, Starbucks Corporation has a large number of racial minorities in its workforce and the company has also faced criticism regarding the handling of racial issues. In 2018, two black men, who had reportedly made no purchases but refused to leave when asked, were arrested in a Starbucks restaurant in Philadelphia causing a nationwide uproar. The two men were apparently marched out in handcuffs and were later released without charge.
The company had issued an apology making it clear that its further policy would not allow a repeat of the Philadelphia incident and closed over 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores to impart racial-diversity training.
Presently, the company intends to discontinue advertising on all social media platforms while engaging internal discussions with civil rights organizations and media partners to counter the spread of hate speech.