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Five Canadian banks join growing list of brands boycotting advertising on Facebook

Scotiabank

The Bank of Nova Scotia building is shown in the financial district in Toronto on August 22, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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    TORONTO — All five of Canada’s major banks have joined the growing list of companies that have announced their intention to stop advertising on Facebook in July, because of the social media giant’s failure to stop the spread of hateful content.

    On Tuesday, Scotiabank confirmed their plans to temporarily pause advertising on Facebook platforms for the month of July, while RBC, CIBC, TD Bank and BMO followed suit on Wednesday.

    “This decision was made based on our fundamental belief and practice in creating inclusive environments for our employees, customers, shareholders and communities,” a spokesperson for Scotiabank said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca.

    AJ Goodman, a spokesperson for RBC, said the bank “believes wide-spread, systemic racism has disadvantaged Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) by significantly impeding their ability to compete equally in opportunities for economic and social advancement.” He added RBC’s purpose is to “help clients thrive and communities prosper” and to achieve this they must work toward eliminating systemic racism and unconscious bias.

    “One way we can do that is by standing against misinformation and hate speech, which only make systemic racism more pervasive,” Goodman said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. “In response to recent events, effective July 1, RBC will pause all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July.”

    BMO echoed that sentiment with their own explanation for joining the boycott.

    “Consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, BMO will pause its advertising on Facebook and Instagram during the month of July, while continuing our ongoing dialogue with Facebook on changes they can make to their platforms to reduce the spread of hate speech. At BMO, we are committed to zero barriers to inclusion,” an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca read.

    A spokesperson for TD Bank said the bank has temporarily paused paid advertising on both Facebook and Instagram.

    “TD is committed to the fight against racism and hate speech and to the work needed to help create a safer and more inclusive society,” the statement said.

    The banks are just the latest in a long list of international brands taking part in the boycott as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which is being led by civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    The coalition of groups accused Facebook of repeatedly failing to “meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms” when it called on corporations earlier this month to boycott the platform for the month of July.

    Other Canadian companies that have joined the boycott include Lululemon Athletica, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Arc’teryx, and Moosehead Breweries.

    International brands taking part in the campaign include Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerry’s, Eddie Bauer, Hershey’s, Honda, and Patagonia.

    With files from The Canadian Press

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