Sixteen of the world’s biggest advertisers have joined together to push platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube to do more to tackle dangerous and fake content online.
The Global Alliance for Responsible Media will also include media buying agencies from the major ad groups - WPP, IPG, Publicis, Omnicom and Dentsu - as well as the platform owners, the group said on Tuesday at the ad industry’s annual gathering in Cannes, France.
The Global Alliance for Responsible Media said its members want to use their "collective power to significantly improve the health of the media eco-system" and "to identify specific collaborative actions, processes and protocols for protecting consumers and brands from safety issues" in the wake of a series of scandals.
The alliance said it is "working towards a media environment where hate speech, bullying and disinformation is challenged, where personal data is protected, and used responsibly when given, and where everyone, especially children, are better protected from harm".
Mark Read, the WPP chief executive, said the creation of the alliance was significant because the ad industry "has not got ahead of" how "bad actors" have been using online platforms.
Some of the world’s largest advertisers including Adidas, Diageo, Mars, Procter & Gamble and Unilever are members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.
The biggest agency groups, WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic and Dentsu are also members, along with media owners such as NBC Universal and News Corporation’s Unruly and many trade bodies such as the ANA, WFA, ISBA and the 4As.
Google's YouTube and Facebook have each faced a string of scandals about illegal and extremist content appearing online and, in some cases, brands’ advertising appearing next to this content.
"With nearly 3.8 billion people online, the world is increasingly connected, and yet the increase in dangerous, hateful, disruptive and fake content online risks threatening our global community," the alliance said.
"Members of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media recognize the role that advertisers can play in collectively pushing to improve the safety of online environments.
"Together, they are rallying publishers and platforms to do more to address harmful and misleading content and to work together to develop and deliver against a concrete set of actions, processes and protocols for protecting people and brands."