The company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Persil, Lynx, PG Tips and Marmite has lashed out at YouTube owner Google.
The Guardian reports that Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed has accused both Google and Facebook of failing to deal with content that “creates division in society and promotes anger and hate”.
Added Weed: “As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online. We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain – one that delivers over a quarter of our advertising to our consumers – which at times is little better than a swamp in terms of its transparency.
“Fake news, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children – parts of the internet we have ended up with is a million miles from where we thought it would take us… It is in the digital media industry’s interest to listen and act on this. Before viewers stop viewing, advertisers stop advertising and publishers stop publishing.
“We will prioritise investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.”
Unilever is the second largest advertiser in the world behind Procter & Gamble – which has itself previously issued similar warnings – and last year spent in the region of £6.8bn promoting its products.
Google and Facebook, meanwhile, account for nearly three quarters of all digital advertising in the US and nearly two thirds in the UK.