Unilever Threatens To Remove Ads Amidst Fake News And Controversial Content On Facebook And Youtube

The company is planning pull its online advertisements if companies such as Google and Facebook don't clean up their platforms.

Unilever Threatens To Remove Online Ads
Adrian Sainz / AP Images

The company is planning pull its online advertisements if companies such as Google and Facebook don't clean up their platforms.

A recently acquired copy of a speech scheduled to be delivered by Unilever’s head of marketing next week has revealed that the company is now thinking about pulling its digital ads if social media platforms don’t shape up. Social media platforms like Google and Facebook have recently been caught up in different controversies dealing with extremely touchy topics such as sexism, racism, terrorism, and fake news.

According to the prepared speech for Unilever’s marketing head, Keith Weed, the platforms have apparently become a “swamp” for controversial content. Unilever is apparently concerned about how these types of content will reflect on them and their products. In the copy of the speech exclusively obtained by CNN, Unilever explained that they cannot continue to show their advertisements on these platforms if things do not change. As a global brand, the company does not want to associate itself with content that “creates division” or is not appropriate for younger consumers.

The company, which owns worldwide brands such as Lipton, Rexona, Dove, Sunsilk, and Ben & Jerry’s, currently spends more than $9.8 billion on advertisements. Roughly 25 percent of its ad catalog is shown digitally, with a majority appearing on sites owned by Google and Facebook.

As mentioned in the copy of the speech, Unilever will apparently no longer tolerate platforms that continue to show objectionable content and that it is simply an issue that can no longer be ignored. While Unilever’s CMCO will not directly mention Google or Facebook, both companies currently do dominate the online ad market. According to CNBC, Google and Facebook have been estimated to have accounted for more than 60 percent of the ads shown online in 2017.

Google’s YouTube video platform has recently been under fire for showing objectionable videos that touch on very controversial topics that include suicide, terrorism, and content that is inappropriate for children. Unilever’s ads, along with ads from other companies, have been shown alongside these videos, which has caused quite an uproar amongst major advertisers.

Facebook, on the other hand, has faced immense criticism for its role in spreading fake news and undesirable viral content. For the most part, Facebook has announced that it has been working with advertisers to curb these types of content and to provide a more desirable platform for ad campaigns.