FMCG leaders commit to reduce harmful online content

Unilever, Mars, P&G and more joined the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) this week to work on creating a more sustainable and responsible digital world to protect consumers, media and society.

YouTube, Facebook and Instagram removed about 620 million pieces of harmful content between July and September 2019 before consumers saw them, but 9.2 million pieces of harmful content still reached consumers over that period.

GARM partnered with the World Economic Forum to improve safety online. and also joined the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture as a flagship project.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) in partnership with its US member, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), launched an initiative the Alliance in June 2019. The coalition represents $97 billion in global advertising spending through 39 advertisers, six agency holding companies, seven leading media platforms and seven industry associations.

“Advertisers can play a unique role in improving the digital ecosystem that we all want to enjoy. Given that brands fund many of the platforms and content providers, we can ensure [that] society gets the benefits of connectivity without the downsides that have sadly also emerged,” said Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO.

Jane Wakely, lead CMO for Mars Incorporated said digital media has reshaped the way we connect with the world “and yet harmful and hateful online content has the power to tear us apart”.

“By driving collective action across the industry and developing safeguards to ensure advertising budgets aren’t fueling harmful content, we’re striving to create safer online communities to protect consumers,” Wakely said.

The three-pronged action plan includes shared or common definitions for advertising groups to categorize harmful content in the same way. The 11 key definitions includes explicit content, drugs, spam and terrorism. These will help protect children from harmful content.

The Alliance will develop common tools that will improve transparency and accuracy in images, videos and editorial comments. It also establish independent oversight. There are measurement standards for the industry and platform to know what to block, demonetize and remove harmful content. GARMS has a special working group that will activate this strategy starting in April.

“It’s time to create a responsible media supply chain that is built for the year 2030—one that operates in a way that is safe, efficient, transparent, accountable, and properly moderated for everyone involved, especially for the consumers we serve,” Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G.

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