Unilever threatens to cut online ad budget over fake news

The company, the world’s second-largest advertiser, sent a message to Facebook, Google and other companies that make money form online advertising: ‘Fix the internet, or we quit.’

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Unilever is fighting back against fake news and what it says is a broken online community.

The company, which owns Dove soaps and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, is no stranger to socially conscious marketing, but now the company is on the offensive, and it is targeting the internet’s biggest companies.

CNN reported:

“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 will say, according to a copy of his speech obtained by CNN.

Unilever ( UL ), which owns brands including Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s, is one of the world’s top advertisers. It has an annual marketing budget of roughly €8 billion ($9.8 billion), and 25% of its ads are digital.

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.

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

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