Unilever PLC said on Friday that 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.
Shares of both Facebook and Twitter fell roughly 7% following Unilever’s announcement.
“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. The company also said that it will maintain its total planned media investment in the U.S. by shifting to other media.
“We have developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve the public conversation, and as always, are committed to amplifying voices from under-represented communities and marginalized groups,” Sarah Personette, vice president for Twitter’s Global Client Solutions said.
“We are respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”
In a statement, a Facebook spokeswoman pointed to its civil rights audit and investments in Artificial Intelligence that allow it to find and take action on hate speech.
“We know we have more work to do,” she said, noting that Facebook will continue working with civil rights groups, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, and other experts to develop more tools, technology and policies to “continue this fight.”