Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, has threatened to pull investment from digital platforms such as Facebook and Google that “create division” in society or fail to protect children. Laura Frykberg reports:
One of the world’s largest advertisers warned that it could pull its ads from online networks, such as Facebook and YouTube, if the tech companies do not minimize divisive content on their platforms.
Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, called on Silicon Valley on Monday to better police what he describes as a toxic online environment where propaganda, hate speech and disturbing content that exploits children live.
“Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children — parts of the Internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us,” Weed said in a speech at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, Calif. “It is in the digital media industry’s interest to listen and act on this.”
Last year Unilever spent nearly $9.5 billion marketing its brands, including Dove, Lipton tea, Axe, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. One quarter of that budget, or about $2.4 billion, was spent on digital advertising.