Unilever threatens Facebook, Google, online advertising cuts



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Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, is threatening to pull out of the investment and the marketing of tech giants like Google and Facebook as the platforms that fuel hatred, division or not to protect children.

Reuters reports that the consumer goods giant is set to Silicon Valley on the hot seat during a speech Monday by Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed during a conference. Weed will appeal to the technology industry to improve the transparency and the trust of the consumer in an era of fake news and toxic online content.

“As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we can’t have an environment where our consumers not to trust what they see online,” Weed is expected to tell to the public. “We can’t continue to the bankruptcy of a digital supply chain — one delivers more than a quarter of our advertising to our customers — which is sometimes little better than a swamp in terms of transparency.”

The advertiser’s criticism comes as lawmakers, activists and former technical managers have blasted tech companies for their opaque policies and the inability to scrub their platforms of extremist or illegal content and fake news.

Google, a unit of tech giant Alphabet, and Facebook are estimated to have taken half of the online ad revenue worldwide in 2017 and more than 60 percent in the U.S., according to research firm eMarketer.


Ian Whittaker and Annick Maas, analysts at Liberum, told The Guardian that YouTube is owned by Google and Facebook are facing problems in convincing advertisers that their product provides a completely secure environment.”

Facebook and other tech companies come under fire for not doing enough to combat incitement to hatred, terrorism and fake news on their platforms.


She added: “Moreover, given the number of videos uploaded, there will always be an element of videos slipping through the net, that is likely to fuel further negative publicity. We see this problem way to go for the online platforms.”

Executives from Facebook and other tech companies have admitted they could do more to combat hatred, abuse, and extremism on their platforms.

“We have invested in the construction of new experiences of which too little is invested in preventing abuse,” Facebook’s communications and public policy head Elliot Schrage, told a tech conference in Munich, according to Reuters.

Analysts have noted that advertisters are becoming more wary of online quality and are becomng more reluctant when it comes to shifting funds from TV to online as these controversies continue.

Weed is expected that the promise of “give priority to investments” in digital only platforms, which are acting responsibly and making a positive impact on society.”


Unilever, the maker of products such as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has threatened to cut of the online marketing budget as well as high-tech companies do not clean up their act.


A group of former technical managers and acitivists recently formed the Center for Human-Technology, which is committed to “reversing the digital attention crisis and reorientation of technology with the human interests” and received a $7 million grant from Common Sense Media.

“Unilever will not invest in platforms and environments that do not have the protection of our children, or to a share in the society, and the fostering of anger or hatred,” the chief marketing officer plans to say on Monday. “We will have priority to invest in corporate social responsibility platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact on society.”

Unilever is expected to warn of other advertisers in that the Google-Facebook duopoly on the task and to avoid the erosion of trust online.

“Consumers don’t care about the authentication by a third party. They do care about fraudulent practices, fake news, and the Russians the influence of the U.S. elections. They don’t care about good value for advertisers. But they do care when they see that their brands will be placed next to ads, the financing of terror or the exploitation of children, the Weeds” is set to say.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

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