Tech giants agree new hate speech rules with advertisers
THE world’s top advertisers have declared a truce with technology giants, agreeing to new rules on reporting and removing hate speech content across Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The deal comes three months after Facebook was hit by an advertising boycott in the wake of antiracism demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US.
The new rules, announced by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), will set a “common baseline” for harmful content including hate speech, aggression and bullying across the three major social networks and give auditors the authority to oversee the system from next year.
The deal will also see the tech giants develop new tools so advertisers can more easily stop their adverts appearing alongside images or videos they consider inappropriate. Until this agreement, marketers and technology firms had many different standards for what they would class as hate speech.
The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.
Jacqui Stephenson, head of responsible marketing at Mars, said: “This is not a declaration of victory as there is much work to be done. Nevertheless, this is an important step in making social media a safer place for society.”
Over the summer, tech giants came under increasing pressure from advertisers with more than 1,000 pulling spending in July after they demanded more action over online hate speech.
While the boycott saw hundreds of millions of dollars in ad spend frozen, it is thought to have had a limited impact on the tech giants’ toplines.
Luis Di Como, executive vice president of media at Unilever, said: “This is a significant milestone in the journey to rebuild trust online. Whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”
Yesterday, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online”.