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[Slashdot] - While Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Announce Hate Speech Action, Some Advertisers Remain Skeptical

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"Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have agreed on first steps to curb harmful content online, big advertisers announced on Wednesday, following boycotts of social media platforms accused of tolerating hate speech," Reuters reports: Under the deal, announced by the World Federation of Advertisers, common definitions would be adopted for forms of harmful content such as hate speech and bullying, and platforms would adopt harmonized reporting standards... The platforms agreed to have some practices reviewed by external auditors and to give advertisers more control over what content is displayed alongside their ads. "This is a significant milestone in the journey to rebuild trust online," said Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media at Unilever, one of the world's biggest advertisers. "Whilst change doesn't happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction..." The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, one of America's largest groups opposing hate speech, told Reuters there were many details that still need to be resolved. "These commitments must be followed in a timely and comprehensive manner to ensure they are not the kind of empty promises that we have seen too often from Facebook." And in a follow-up article, Reuters notes that despite the agreement, advertisers who'd boycotted Facebook and other social media sites "are not all rushing back". Unilever, one of the world's biggest advertisers, told Reuters the move this week was "a good step in the right direction," but would not say whether it would resume paid advertising on Facebook in the United States next year after stopping over the summer. Coca-Cola also remains paused on Facebook and Instagram and declined to say if this changed its view. Beam Suntory, maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier Cognac, plans to stay away from paid advertising for the rest of 2020 and reassess in 2021 based on how Facebook adjusts its approach... "Brands are very concerned about having any affiliation with the disinformation that runs through the big tech platforms," said Michael Priem, CEO of advertising technology firm Modern Impact... Campaign organizers remain skeptical and pledged to keep up the heat. "We cannot assume progress from yet another commitment to change until we see the impact and breadth of policy enforcement by these companies," said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, a backer of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which organized the boycott. "As long as these companies continue to abdicate their responsibility to their most vulnerable users, we will continue to call on Congress and regulatory agencies to intervene." The chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble tells Reuters that with half of all media spending now devoted to digital ads, "It's time for digital platforms to apply content standards properly." A Facebook spokersperson pointed out that 95% of hate speech removed by Facebook is now detected before being reported — whereas in 2017, that number was just 23%.

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