Marmite maker Unilever threatens to pull ads from Facebook and Google

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

According to the Financial Times, he plans to say that "Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate".

Speaking to advertising and technology companies at the Interactive Advertising Bureau conference, Weed will stress that the company plans to prioritise "investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society".

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".

Unilever itself was heavily criticised previous year for a Dove advert on Facebook that many saw as racist.

The comments from one of the world's largest online media buyers come as social networks face a barrage of criticism from lawmakers, brands and people worldwide over their role in how online misinformation, hate speech and other illegal material is shared across their platforms.

And in a direct attack on Facebook, which aims to verify third-party providers to try and clamp down on spreading of fake news, he will add: "Consumers don't care about third-party verification. They do care about fraudulent practice, fake news, and Russians influencing the U.S. election", Weed plans to say. "But they do care when they see their brands being placed next to ads funding terror, or exploiting children". It has cut the number of ads it makes and the number of agencies it works with.

Facebook and Google have dominated the online ad market for years, thanks to their massive reach and vast amounts of data. It has an annual marketing budget of roughly €8 billion ($9.8 billion), and 25% of its ads are digital.

Facebook executives visiting Europe last month made a public show of contrition about the social media giant's slow response to abuses on its platform, seeking to avoid further legislation along the lines of a new hate speech law in Germany it says goes too far.