SodaStream becomes first Israeli company to join Facebook ad boycott
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SodaStream becomes first Israeli company to join Facebook ad boycott

Israeli home seltzer machine maker joins parent company PepsiCo in protesting social network’s policies on hate speech

In this Sept. 2, 2015 file photo, SodaStream products are seen at the SodaStream factory near the Bedouin city of Rahat, Southern Israel.  (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
In this Sept. 2, 2015 file photo, SodaStream products are seen at the SodaStream factory near the Bedouin city of Rahat, Southern Israel. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

SodaStream has become the first Israeli company to join the growing protest against Facebook’s policies on hate speech, alongside a growing list of brands that have pledged not to advertise on the social media platform.

SodaStream, the maker of home seltzer machines, joined parent company PepsiCo Inc. over the weekend in announcing they would halt advertising on Facebook, the Ynet news site reported.

SodaStream, founded in 1991, makes and sells seltzer machines for home use. The foot-and-a-half-tall machines turn still water into seltzer in 30 seconds. Its 3,500 employees produce about 500,000 devices per month, which are sold in 46 countries around the world.

Pepsi bought Sodastream, which had frequently been a target of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for $3.2 billion in 2018.

On Monday, Starbucks became the latest large corporation to join the boycott, following the lead of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey and nearly 100 other companies. The Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and several other civil rights groups announced the boycott on June 17, calling on companies to pause their advertising on Facebook for the month of July.

Other Israeli companies have so far been silent on the issue.

Protesting the company’s unwillingness to police hate speech or monitor posts for misinformation, the campaign points to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s repeated refusal to moderate posts for misinformation, even as extremists have used the platform to incite to violence.

Facebook makes nearly its entire $70 billion in annual revenue through advertising — and the boycott appears to have hurt its bottom line. The firm’s stock, listed as FB on the Nasdaq exchange, has fallen 8% over the past several days through Monday morning.

The list of companies has continued to rise despite Zuckerberg’s attempt to address the complaints.

On Friday, Facebook announced that it would place warnings on posts that break its rules regarding hate or misinformation but still considers newsworthy. It will also ban a wider variety of hateful posts, according to NPR, and will post links to “authoritative information” on posts concerning voting.

But the boycott organizers are demanding much broader changes how Facebook monitors, responds to and reports posts. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted Friday that Facebook’s new policies amount to “small changes that don’t adequately address hate & misinformation.”

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