Tech firms must clean up networks, says massive advertiser


One of the world’s largest splashers of marketing money has demanded that the big tech firms clean up their acts – or it’ll take its money away.

Unilever, which makes everything from Marmite to Domestos (I hope at separate factories), claims it’s tired of online hate, fake news and child abuse, and doesn’t wish to be associated with things like that, which is understandable.

Thusly, the likes of Facebook and Google need to take online action if they want the firm to continue wheel-barrowing money into their comfy lairs.

The Anglo-Dutch combine, which manufactures everything from 80s-throwback neck-sweetener Brut to 90s-throwback pseudo-luxury ice cream Viennetta, spent a nuts £6.8 billion on advertising last year.

In a speech today, the company’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, will claim that its customers ‘have trust in our brands’ – and remember, these people make I can’t believe it’s not Butter.

Unless he changes his mind between now and the speech, Mr Weed will tell listeners at California’s stimulating-sounding Interactive Advertising Bureau conference: ‘As one of the largest advertisers in the world, we cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online.

‘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. We will prioritise investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.’

It’ll be interesting to see if the likes of Facebook and Google do suddenly find a way to clear their networks of child abuse, hatred and lies – because if they do it will rather demonstrate that the threat of losing money is the one thing they cannot countenance, and is far more motivating than, say, regulation, or a moral backbone.

But, anyway, the amount of stuff that Unilever makes

As well as I can’t believe it’s not Butter, it makes Bertolli, Flora and Stork (that’s sort of all the same stuff, isn’t it?); Colman’s mustard; Vaseline; Marmite’s insipid cousin Bovril; Pot Noodle; PG Tips; and even that staple of childhood bath times, Matey bubble bath, which caused quite a nostalgic tremor when I saw the branding on its website earlier.

Tech firms must clean up networks, says massive advertiser

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