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Unilever, which owns brands including Dove and Hellman's, has announced that it will halt ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, citing the spread of hate speech on digital platforms.

In a statement released Friday, Unilever said it would halt ads on the social media platforms through at least the end of the year, noting advertising "would not add value to people and society."

"We are actively engaging with all digital platforms to make meaningful change and impact trust and transparency," Unilever's statement reads. "We have made substantial progress, and we acknowledge the efforts of our partners, but there is much more to be done, especially in the areas of divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S."

Shares of Facebook and Twitter were both down more than 7% in afternoon trading. Details of the move were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook ad boycott: reads a statement from the campaign website. 

Which companies are participating?

Among the companies who are participating in this protest:

  • Eddie Bauer
  • The North Face
  • Patagonia
  • REI
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • Mozilla
  • Birchbox
  • Verizon
  • Honda

Facebook efforts criticized

Facebook's practices when policing content has drawn increased scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against his neck for more than eight minutes.

The social network faced backlash for not acting on a post from President Donald Trump about protests of Floyd's death. In the post, Trump warned "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." By comparison, Twitter included a message with a note saying the president's post was "glorifying violence."

Zuckerberg has defended leaving the post untouched, saying Facebook should allow for as much free expression as possible.

Facebook "cannot afford to look away anymore" as the roster of boycotting companies grows, said Rashad Robinson, president of civil rights organization Color Of Change, in a statement.

“As one of the largest spenders on Facebook’s platforms, Unilever’s decision to halt advertising and commit to our #StopHateforProfit pledge brings us a huge step forward in holding Facebook accountable for enabling hateful, denigrating and discriminatory content against Black people," Robinson said. "Facebook leaders should understand the gravity of this movement for civil rights and take urgent steps to remedy its harms, including implementing a permanent civil rights infrastructure.”

Josh Peter contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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