Starbucks latest to jump on social media ad pause wagon


Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause social media ads after a campaign led by civil rights organizations called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it doesn’t do enough to stop racist and violent content.

Starbucks said Sunday that its actions were not part of the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign, but that it is pausing its social ads while talking with civil rights organizations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.

The coffee chain’s announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; cellphone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi’s and dozens of smaller companies. Some of the companies will pause ads just on Facebook, while others will refrain from advertising more broadly on social media.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good,” said Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group.

Facebook’s market value dropped Friday by more than 8%, or about $50 billion, as more companies said they would pause ads. Twitter stock also dropped more than 7% Friday.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said Friday the company’s “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.”

She added that Twitter is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”


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European Union to speed up space ambitions to keep pace with US, China


PARIS – The European Union will plow more money into rocket launches, satellite communication and space exploration to preserve its often unsung successes in space and keep up with US and Chinese ambitions, its space chief said on Sunday.

Over the past decades, Europe has sought to build independent access to space from U.S. and Russian pioneers to help its industry, with successes such as Ariane rockets or GPS-rival satnav Galileo.

But the recent emergence of U.S. competitor SpaceX and its reusable rockets as well as China’s rapid advances, including the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon last year, is giving new urgency to Europe’s ambitions.

“Space is one of Europe’s strong points, and we’re giving ourselves the means to speed up,” European Commissioner Thierry Breton, whose brief includes the space sector, told Reuters in an interview.

Breton, the former French head of IT company Atos, said that for the first time, the EU budget will be used to support new technology to launch rockets, including reusable ones.

The EU will for the first time sign a 1 billion euro agreement with Arianespace with guaranteed orders to give it more visibility, in exchange for more innovation.

“SpaceX has redefined the standards for launchers, so Ariane 6 is a necessary step, but not the ultimate aim: we must start thinking now about Ariane 7,” Breton said.

Breton, who hopes the European Commission will provide 16 billion euros for space in its next budget, said he would propose a 1 billion euro European Space Fund to boost startups. He also wants to launch a competition to give free access to satellites and launchers to startups, to spur innovation.

For the Galileo satnav system, Breton said he would bring forward to the end of 2024 instead of 2027 the rollout of a new generation of satellites, “the most modern in the world”, that can interact with each other and provide a more precise signal.

He wants to launch a new satellite system that can give high-speed Internet access to all Europeans, and begin work on a Space Traffic Management system to avoid collisions, made more likely with the rapid increase in the number of satellites.


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Athens Rock Online Festival closes in Cuba


Matanzas, Cuba, (Plenglish) Rock fans will enjoy on Sunday the closing of the 21st Athens Rock Online Festival, catalogued by specialists as one of the most important events of the genre in Cuba, after a week of online presentations.

On this occasion, a total of 15 Cuban bands showed their work in this rhythm, according to Yadiel Duran, president of the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS) of the western province of Matanzas, which sponsors the event.

The AHS is an organization with cultural and artistic purposes that selectively brings together, on a voluntary basis, the most important writers, artists, intellectuals and promoters from all over this Caribbean nation, young people up to 35 years old.

During the event, which began on June 22, photos of the history of the festival were published, as well as special programs with videos sent from their respective provinces by these exponents of rock on the island.

Duran thanked the authorities of the host territory, ‘because they have known how to protect this event organized by Matanzas 21 years ago.


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