Global telco Vodafone Group has pulled all advertising from outlets linked to hate speech and fake news and is working with Google and Facebook to create a “whitelist” of appropriate sites.
As of today, Vodafone has redefined the parameters limiting where its advertising can appear. Where a publishing outlet, whether social media, online publication or print product, is identified as predominantly producing degrading or inaccurate materials it will no longer receive advertising from the company.
The newly developed whitelist of appropriate sites will identify those with similar beliefs and principles of the company. Vodafone will no longer rely on programmatic advertising.
Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao said the issue was fundamental to the company and needed to be addressed.
“Hate speech and fake news threaten to undermine the principles of respect and trust that bind communities together. Vodafone has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion; we also greatly value the integrity of the democratic processes and institutions that are often the targets of purveyors of fake news. We will not tolerate our brand being associated with this kind of abusive and damaging content,” he said.
The decision follows a global brand safety boycott in March, which saw multiple brands pull their advertisements from YouTube after it was deemed an unsafe brand environment. The boycotting businesses included Vodafone, vehicle manufacturers Holden and Kia, and retailers JB HI FI and Bunnings Warehouse.
Since March, Facebook and Google have implemented a range of new policies to improve brand safety. Google has become stricter on where content is visible on its video streaming site YouTube, while Facebook has recently employed 3000 new moderators to improve user safety.