World's Second-Largest Advertiser Threatens to Boycott Tech Giants


Consumer goods multinational Unilever is considering pulling its advertising from online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter unless they step up their efforts to protect children and remove posts that promote hate or create division in society.

He'll also cite a new partnership between Unilever and IBM to pilot blockchain technology for advertising, which has "potential to drastically reduce advertising fraud by recording how media is purchased, delivered and interacted with by target audiences", the company says. (FB) don't do more to combat the spread of fake news and hate speech.

So far, though, such activities have won them few plaudits, including from companies like Unilever - whose brands include Dove soap and Lipton tea - that collectively spend billions of euros each year to advertise on these digital networks.

"We can not continue to prop up a digital supply chain - one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers - which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency".

"Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, do not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society", Weed plans to say, according to a copy of the speech seen beforehand.

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".

Weed will say that a proliferation of objectionable content on social media - and a lack of protections for children - is eroding social trust, harming users and undermining democracies.

Google, a unit of tech giant Alphabet, and Facebook are estimated to have taken half of online ad revenue worldwide in 2017 and more than 60 percent in the United States, according to research firm eMarketer. "They do care about fraudulent practice, fake news and Russians influencing the USA election".

Officials at Facebook and Google in Europe were not immediately available to comment.

"This is not something that can brushed aside or ignored", he will say in the speech.

"2018 is either the year of techlash, where the world turns on the tech giants - and we have seen some of this already - or the year of trust", Weed, the Unilever executive, will tell the industry conference.