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Unilever threatens to pull advertising from social networks

14 February 2018

Weed plans to cite research showing trust in social media is at an all-time low worldwide because of "a perceived lack of focus by technology companies in stopping illegal, unethical and extremist behavior and materials on their platforms", Unilever says.

Weed oversees an annual budget of €7.7bn (£6.8bn) for promoting Unilever's well-known household brands that include Lynx, Dove, PG Tips and Marmite.

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".

Unilever, the company behind brands such as Dove soap, Hellman's mayonnaise, Knorr and Lipton Tea, is now seeking to slash its advertising budget by producing fewer, lower budget commercials.

Unilever is warning digital platforms like Google and Facebook to address the proliferation of fake news, or the company will stop advertising with them, CNN reported Monday.

Weed is expected to explain in his speech that Unliever is not prepared "prop up" a digital supply chain that "at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency".

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

Weed and Unilever didn't cite names in the advance billing of his remarks, but most of the biggest social platforms with the possible exception of Pinterest have come under fire in the past year on social-division and child-safety issues. (AMZN) about achieving these goals.

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".

In his speech, Weed declares: "As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we can not have an environment where our consumers don't trust what they see online". Part of the problem is their "set-it-and-forget-it" technique of letting algorithms place ads, but hiring vast swaths of humans to figure out which videos are brand-friendly and which aren't is expensive, and also one of the worst jobs on the internet.

Unilever threatens to pull advertising from social networks