Update: Driving a Responsible Digital Ecosystem in These Polarized Times

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In June, Unilever paused brand advertising on social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the US through at least the end of 2020. We made this decision in line with the principles of our Responsibility Framework, which is rooted in the belief that we must create a diverse partner network that promotes a positive digital advertising ecosystem for consumers, brands, and society.

We’ve continued to work with the platforms to drive whole system change in the digital ecosystem, and we’ve seen some encouraging progress as part of our work with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and other industry forums working with these partners. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have committed to concrete steps to further manage harmful content moving forward, including common definitions for 11 harmful content areas, consistent reporting of prevalence of this content on these platforms, independent auditing, and developing controls for managing advertiser adjacency per the GARM commitments.

As we approach the end of our planned pause period, we have been encouraged by the platforms’ new commitments and reporting to monitor progress. We therefore plan to end our pause in the US starting in January. We will closely assess the platforms’ deliverables against their timelines and commitments, as well as polarization in the social media newsfeed environment post-election as the year progresses.

Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever, stated: “We have a unique role and responsibility to address the complexities of the social media ecosystem. Our long-term goal is to work with our partners and the industry to drive systemic change. We are encouraged by the commitments the platforms are making to build healthier environments for consumers, brands and society in alignment with the principles of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media. This is why we plan to end our social media investment pause in the U.S. in January. We will continue to reassess our position as necessary.”

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