Cut toxic content or no ads: HUL

Hindustan Unilever is following its parent, global consumer goods brand Unilever, by threatening to pull advertisements from online platforms such as Facebook and Google for failing to weed out unreliable and harmful content.
  • Unilever, which spent $9.4 billion on marketing globally last year, of which one-third was on digital advertising, on Monday said it will not advertise its brands on social media alongside content that creates divisions, exploits children and hurts religious sentiments.
  • Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, does not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society.
  • The move is significant for Facebook and Google, given that Hindustan Unilever spends around 15% of its advertising and market budget on digital platforms.
  • Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children and other objectionable content is leading the internet has ended up a million miles far from where the HUL’s advertisers thought it would be.
  • India is seeing a growing trend of advertising on digital platforms. With growing availability of smartphones and internet users, this medium is likely to take center stage in the future. The corporation is taking their advertising on this medium seriously and would not want to be associated with brands that are seen as morally corrupt.
  • Facebook India has already started working towards addressing these industry-wide challenges. The company has laid out a detailed plan, including outlining advertisement principles, fact-checking organizations to scurb the spread of false news, and making investments in artificial intelligence and training staff to spot and remove toxic content.
Unilever has said that it will partner with only those organizations that will help bring around better digital infrastructure in the world.

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