Unilever, a corporation with a roughly $9 billion dollar annual marketing budget, is threatening to pull its advertising from platforms like Google and Facebook if they don’t censor and remove more of the content posted by users.
We appreciate the move to exercise corporate citizenship by forcing accountability on platforms like Facebook and Youtube. Cracking down on fake news is good. But is Unilever’s standard too broad? What is considered acceptable content? They have massive spending power to influence the content that we and our kids see.
The company claims it wants to protect children. Are we protecting children and creating a stronger democracy by allowing corporations have a larger voice, as citizens have a smaller voice?
If Unilever wants civility on digital platforms, it should consider the impact of family planning on our becoming, over time, a developed and civil society. Rather than encouraging parents to ignore their concerns and just have kids, it should encourage smaller and more sustainable families that cooperate to plan a fair start for every child. Instead of promoting censorship after-the-fact, Unilever should promote sustainable families that thoughtfully develop children for a civil, rather than consumerist, society.
Tweet Unilever CEO Paul Polman at @PaulPolman and politely suggest the following:
We want civility without the requirement for censorship. Use your influence to promote better family planning and thoughtful citizens, not an infinite supply of silenced consumers.