Unilever threatens to pull ads from online 'swamp' of fake news, extremism

Unilever threatens to pull ads from online 'swamp' of fake news, extremism

Unilever threatens to pull ads from online 'swamp' of fake news, extremism

Keith Weed, its chief marketing officer, raised the company's concerns at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's annual leadership meeting in California yesterday.

Unilever will commit to pulling investment from any platforms that do not do enough to protect children or crack down on "fake news, racism, sexism and terrorists spreading messages of hate".

Unilever says it will not invest in platforms that "create division" in society and "promote anger or hate", arguing that "social media should build social responsibility".

Besides social division and child safety, the speech will cover Unilever's intention to "only partner with organizations which are committed to creating better digital infrastructure, such as aligning around one measurement system and improving the consumer experience".

His comments echo complaints made by Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Mark Pritchard, who has lamented fake ad clicks by automated "bots", the risk an ad can appear online next to an ISIS recruitment video and the realization that people do not watch video commercials any more. Amid growing evidence that Russian-linked misinformation affected the outcome of the USA presidential election, the social network - a big source for its users' news consumption - has introduced changes that include shifting the focus of users' News Feeds, beefing up the number of people who vet content - it's now up to 14,000, the company says - and more. Last month, Google said it is putting its global rehab advertising efforts on hold after deceptive ad practices were brought to light.

Keith Weed, whose team spent $9.3 billion on marketing previous year, will issue the warning at an Interactive Advertising Bureau in New York City today.

Tuesday NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder
He made 10 of 24 shots as Westbrook was sidelined with a sprained left ankle and Anthony sat out with a sprained right ankle. The offensive glass should be a major advantage for Oklahoma City in this contest. "I like what he brings", Lue said.

As Third Door Media's paid media reporter, Ginny Marvin writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land.

Weed's warning comes at a time when many tech companies are under scrutiny for facilitating the spread of misinformation. But money talks, especially in marketing, and Unilever making this threat is something not just Google and Facebook, but the wider tech industry, is probably paying attention to.

"We fully support Unilever's commitments and are working closely with them", said a spokeswoman for Facebook. Facebook, Twitter and Google claim they are taking measures to find and remove illegal content.

Last year, YouTube was criticized for allowing ads to run on extremist content.

Facebook has already pushed to control digital on its platform.

Related news