The World Federation of Advertisers is standing alongside its member association and colleagues at the Association of New Zealand Advertisers, which has issued a call asking for members to think carefully about where they place advertising and challenging social media platform owners, in light of recent failures, to block dangerous and hateful content.
The WFA says that while companies must decide their own approaches, they are calling on members and brands worldwide, in their capacity as the funders of the online advertising system, to put pressure on platforms to do more to prevent their services and algorithms from being hijacked by those with malicious intent.
The call comes after multiple incidents on some of the world’s biggest digital platforms, including paedophile comments being left in comments below videos of children on YouTube, the glorification of self-harm and suicide content on lnstagram and, most recently, the live streaming of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on Facebook.
ANZA Chief Executive, Lindsay Mouat, says, “This is not an issue of brand safety, this is a moral question to hold social media platforms to account – in the same way we do for traditional media.”
WFA’s call to action reflects the fact that these are not challenges that can be addressed by one country alone but need global action.
CEO of the WFA, Stephan Loerke, says “Marketers must reflect on the extent and terms on which they fund these platforms. Conversely, the platforms must do more to assuage the growing number of advertiser concerns. WFA is committed to working with the platforms in a constructive manner in order to find solutions to these grave problems. For our shared goal must be to build an ecosystem that is sustainable and doesn’t undermine people, communities and society at large.”
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard and WFA President, Raja Rajamannar, says, “The influence of online platforms in shaping cultures and mobilizing communities around the world is already significant and growing ever more so. This means brands and platforms must assume a higher level of responsibility to ensure these online environments are forces for good, not conflict or violence. That begins with acknowledging flaws and quickly investing in lasting solutions. To drive change we need Jess debate and more action.”
Steve Ahern’s analysis Media and regulators respond to Christchurch