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Facebook: Aviva and Intercontinental Hotels Group pause ads

BBC Technology 30 Jun 2020 09:40
By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter
Aviva Facebook and Holiday Inn brandsImage copyright Getty Images

Two leading UK firms - the insurer Aviva and the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) - have become the latest to "pause" advertising on Facebook.

They join Ford, Adidas, HP, Coca Cola, Unilever and Starbucks, which have all acted in response to how the social network deals with hate speech.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign claims that Facebook is not doing enough to remove hateful content.

Facebook has said it wants to be a force for good.

Ahead of the latest developments, the tech firm's UK director Steve Hatch told the BBC that "there was no profit in content that is hateful".

In a statement to the BBC, Aviva said: "We regularly review which social media platforms we use and have taken this moment to pause and reassess Aviva's use of Facebook for advertising in the UK."

IHG added it had recently taken the decision to suspend advertising "through Facebook globally" but did not provide additional context. The Buckinghamshire-based firm operates under the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Kimpton brands, among others.

Mars's temporary halt will extend to Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

News agency Reuters reported that Facebook had hosted a conference call with advertisers to discuss an audit of how it deals with hate in its latest effort to tackle the backlash.

Hundreds of brands around the world have hit pause on their Facebook advertising in response to Stop Hate for Profit's call for a boycott. Some have also suspended ads on other social media platforms.

"Our systems now remove 90% of and detect 90% of that hate speech automatically. And now that's not perfect, but we do know that it's up from 23% two years ago," he said.

"The way that our systems work are to provide people with the content that is most often in millions and millions of cases both enjoyable and safe, and also to enable people to have a discussion."

A comment made by the president - "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" - was deemed to glorify violence and labelled as such by rival Twitter but remained on Facebook.

But Facebook's inaction left many angry, and kick-started the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which wants big brands to boycott the social network during July.

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