Unilever plc (NYSE: UL), one of the world’s biggest advertisers, has threatened to pull its advertisements from popular social media tech platforms such as Facebook and Google if the companies fail to protect children, promote hate or create division in society, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing documents given ahead of Unilever’s speech.
Unilever shares were trading 2.1 percent higher on Monday, while Facebook shares were down 0.5 percent.
Unilever Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Weed said that the company is prioritizing its investments into platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact to society. He is expected to deliver his speech on Monday during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting.
"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 the copy of the speech.
Unilever is one of world’s largest advertisers, as it spent more than $9 billion in marketing last year for its brands. The company has already begun to cuts costs on advertising to push digital media to control and oversee its content.
In the midst of the 2016 elections, tech giants Facebook and Google received backlash for allowing Russian ads advertised on their platforms to sway voters. The ads created controversy saying that there isn’t enough security and how easily fake news was spread.
Google and Facebook are estimated to control more than 60 percent of the worldwide digital ad revenue in 2017, and more than 60 percent in the U.S., according to eMarketer.
Rather than issuing demands, Weed said he wants to work privately with the tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snap and Amazon to improve upon digital advertisements and solutions.
“We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them,” said a spokeswoman for Facebook.
Unilever’s move comes after it was criticized last year for a Dove ad on Facebook that many viewed as racist and received hateful attention and even boycotts. Dove had apologized for the ad saying it had misinterpreted the ad.
Digital advertisers have been receiving a lot of backlash due to ads that run on their platforms, but many have been changing their platforms in order to combat the issue.
Facebook has already pushed to control digital on its platform. The company has created algorithms to push posts by family and friends ahead of advertisements and also increased its security workforce.
Youtube, which is owned by Google, has had public audiences review each second of the video that is part of its Google Preferred program, which is popular for marketers to pay for ads.
But even then, Weed was not satisfied. Although Weed says the moves are meaningful, he still believes that it is not enough and more efforts should be made especially on sites like Youtube to protect children.