July 3, 2020 / 4:17 PM / a month ago

Canada's biggest banks join boycott of Facebook platforms

TORONTO, July 3 (Reuters) - Canada's biggest lenders confirmed on Friday they had joined a widespread boycott of Facebook Inc begun by U.S. civil rights groups seeking to pressure the world's largest social media platform to take concrete steps to block hate speech.

More than 400 brands have pulled advertising on Facebook in response to the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign, begun after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Canadian lenders Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce all said they will pause advertising on Facebook platforms in July.

Desjardins Group, Canada's largest federation of credit unions, also said on its website on Thursday it will pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month "barring any exceptional situations where we need to communicate with our members or clients."

Most cited their commitments to inclusion and diversity.

Facebook policy chief Nick Clegg told reporters in a call last month that the company "emphatically stands against hate speech" and removed 10 million hateful posts from its services last quarter.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

BMO said it is continuing its "ongoing dialogue with Facebook on changes they can make to their platforms to reduce the spread of hate speech."

RBC said one way to help clients and communities is to stand against "misinformation and hate speech, which only make systemic racism more pervasive."

Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto Editing by Matthew Lewis

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