Brand power pulls rank over ‘fake news’ sites


Brand power pulls rank over ‘fake news’ sites

Unilever has threatened to pull investment from platforms that fail to tackle fake news

Tom Rees

Unilever, the world’s second largest advertiser, has threatened to pull investment from platforms that fail to tackle fake news amid a “techlash” from the public against social media giants.
The consumer goods company behind brands such as Omo and Dove warned that brands “have to take the lead” in confronting the “deep systematic issue” as Facebook and Twitter attempt to grapple with a string of scandals in which their platforms have been used to spread politically-charged and misleading news reports.Unilever says it will not invest in platforms that “create division” in society and “promote anger or hate”, arguing that “social media should build social responsibility”.Facebook has come under fire for allowing fake news to flood users’ news feeds, and Twitter has been accused of failing to confront political bots amid allegations that Russia used an army of fake accounts to sway the Brexit vote and US election in 2016. Tech giant Google is also attempting to purge search engine results of inaccurate and misleading news.Unilever marketing boss Keith Weed delivered his warning to tech companies at an industry convention on Monday.
“Brands have to play their role in resolving it,” he said. “No longer can we stand to one side or remain at arm’s length just because issues in the supply chain do not affect us directly,” adding that the industry is “sleepwalking on progress”.
— © The Daily Telegraph

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