USA TODAYPublished 5:08 PM EDT Jun 26, 2020Unilever, 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: Initiative connects with another big name: wireless giant VerizonFord’s new F-150: Redesigned pickup features include disappearing gear shifter, hands-free highway drivingIn a statement obtained by USA TODAY, Facebook defended its efforts to fight hate speech, including investments in artificial intelligence and banning 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram.”We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM (the Global Alliance for Responsible Media), and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight,” Facebook said.Sarah Personette, Twitter’s vice president of global client solutions, said in a statement they respect Unilever’s decision and will continue to work and communicate closely with them.”Our mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely,” said Personette. “We have developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve the public conversation, and as always, are committed to amplifying voices from underrepresented communities and marginalized groups.”A bigger Facebook ad boycottThe decision from Unilever comes amid a campaign from companies to pull advertising from Facebook during the month of July in protest of hate speech on the platform. On Thursday, Verizon confirmed that it would halt ads on Facebook in July.The boycott was launched by the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which includes the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.”Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence,” reads a statement from the campaign website. Which companies are participating?Among the companies who are participating in this protest:Eddie BauerThe North FacePatagoniaREIBen & Jerry’sMozillaBirchboxVerizonHondaFacebook efforts criticizedFacebook’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.