Patagonia joins The North Face in Facebook ad boycott


By Elizabeth Culliford

June 22 (Reuters) - Outdoor apparel brand Patagonia Inc will pause its ads on Facebook Inc FB.O and Facebook's photo-sharing app, Instagram, making it the latest company to join a boycott campaign organized by U.S. civil rights groups.

"We will pull all ads on Facebook and Instagram, effective immediately, through at least the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant," the company said in a series of tweets on Sunday attributed to its head of marketing, Cory Bayers.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started last week by several U.S. civil rights groups who said the social network was doing too little to stop hate speech on its platforms.

Patagonia, which has been politically vocal in the past, joins companies including clothing maker VF Corp's VFC.N outdoor brand The North Face, and Recreational Equipment Inc, or REI, in pausing Facebook ads.

"From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred," said one of the Patagonia tweets.

The campaign follows the death of George Floyd, a U.S. Black man who died in police custody, which has triggered worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him on May 25.

Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was criticized after the company, unlike Twitter Inc TWTR.N, decided not to take action on an inflammatory post by U.S. President Donald Trump about the protests.

"We deeply respect any brand's decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information," Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook's global business group, said in a statement on Monday. "Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good."

Facebook is the second-largest U.S. digital ad player after Alphabet's GOOGL.O Google, according to eMarketer. Patagonia and VF Corp did not immediately respond to Reuters questions about how much they spend on Facebook advertising.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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