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Eight major Canadian banks join Facebook ad boycott

Facebook is facing a mounting ad boycott by hundreds of companies over its approach to racist and hate speech (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Montreal (AFP) - Eight major Canadian banks said Thursday they would heed a call by other major global advertisers to boycott Facebook, demanding the social network do more to tackle racist and other hate speech.

Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, TD, BMO, National Bank of Canada, Desjardins and Laurentian Bank confirmed to AFP that they support the #StopHateForProfit movement launched by social justice activists.

That means they will pull their ads from Facebook and its sister photo-sharing platform Instagram.

"We have temporarily paused paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram," a TD spokeswoman said.

"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."

An RBC spokesman said the bank wanted to work towards "eliminating systemic racism and unconscious bias, and enhance diversity, equity and inclusion."

"One way we can do that is by standing against misinformation and hate speech, which only make systemic racism more pervasive," he added.

More than 400 companies including Adidas, Coca-Cola, Puma and Starbucks have suspended their ad buys on Facebook, which has more than 1.7 billion daily users.

The #StopHateForProfit campaign was launched by pressure groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States.

The movement gained momentum in the wake of the May death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed African American.

Last week, Facebook said it would ban a "wider category of hateful content" in response to the growing protests.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the changes were based on "feedback from the civil rights community and reflect months of work with our civil rights auditors."

This week, the world's leading social network disrupted a "violent US-based anti-government network" loosely affiliated with the far-right "Boogaloo" movement.