Writing Right: The Blog

Unilever Threatens Google, Facebook Over Fake News

February 12, 2018

Tags: Fake News

Unilever has threatened to pull its advertising from digital platforms that have become a "swamp" of fake news, racism, sexism and extremism. The terse warning to digital platforms such as Google and Facebook was issued at an advertising conference in California Monday, Feb. 2, 2018.

"We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain ... which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency," Unilever marketing boss Keith Weed said.

Unilever owns Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry's, among other brands, and is one of the world's top advertisers. It has an annual marketing budget of $9.8 billion. A quarter of that. or nearly $2.5 billion, is currently spent on digital platforms. Unilever's brands are purchased 2 billion times a day.

Among the objections: a proliferation of unsuitable content on social media, a lack of protections for children, and messaging harmful to democracies.

"This is not something that can brushed aside or ignored," he said.

Unilever will no longer advertise on platforms that create divisions in society or fail to protect young people.