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Unilever, the owner of brands like Dove, Country Crock, and Popsicle, recently put social advertising platforms like YouTube and Facebook on notice by threatening to pull its ads unless they take action to help remove “toxic content.”

Chief marketing officer for Unilever, Keith Weed recently spoke at a conference for California’s Interactive Advertising Bureau. In his speech, Weed condemned the content found on social platforms and expressed intention to dissociate Unilever’s brands with that content.

It is acutely clear from the groundswell of consumer voices over recent months that people are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of digital on well-being, on democracy — and on truth itself. This is not something that can be brushed aside or ignored.

Unilever brands spend over $2 billion annually on digital advertising on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. They are using this clout to enact positive change in the industry, whether by teamwork or by force.

Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate.

This comes at a whirlwind moment for YouTube, still reeling from recent controversies with Logan Paul, but willing to make the necessary changes. In response to Weed’s call to action, a Google spokesperson gave the following quote:

Keith has always pushed us and the industry to be better. There is nothing we take more seriously than the trust and safety of our users, customers and partners, and we will continue to work to earn that trust every day.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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