- Pernod Ricard is asking the advertising industry and social media companies to join a non-profit industry initiative called #EngageResponsibly that seeks to stop the spread of hate speech online. A key component of the effort is a software tool that will be released next month in the U.S. on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and is designed to make it easy for consumers to report incidents of hate speech, the company said in a press release.
- The software tool, which is expected to be released on additional social media platforms, will be paired with social listening to create a database that provides an independent assessment of hate across networks, per the release. Trade groups such as the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) endorsed the #EngageResponsibly effort, which also is supported by software company Salesforce and ad holding company WPP.
- #EngageResponsibly will give brands a way to earn an "anti-hate certification" by calculating their "hate footprint" and investing in NGOs that either fight hate or support communities most affected by hate. The initiative also will give small- and medium-sized businesses tools for responsible advertising.
#EngageResponsibly comes as marketers grow increasingly alarmed about the failure of social media companies to provide a brand-safe environment for their advertising. Despite the ongoing content moderation efforts by social platforms, many consumers are still being exposed to hateful online content that's destructive to brands whose ads appear nearby. Pernod Ricard's efforts to create an industry-led approach to eradicating hate speech follows an earlier announcement of the brand's plans for a crowdsourcing app to report objectionable content.
More than a third (35%) of Americans said they had experienced online harassment because of racial, religious or sexual identity, the Anti-Defamation League found in a consumer survey. However, only 18% of harassment targets said they contacted the technology platform to ask for help or to report inappropriate content. Meanwhile, more than 75% of people want reporting of hate speech to be easier, the study found.
Pernod Ricard's #EngageResponsibly effort aims to simplify those procedures with software tools that will feed into a database of consumer-reported incidents. That information will be aggregated with data gleaned from high-volume social listening to create reports that show a current view of online hate among platforms. The technology will comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect consumer privacy and the terms of service for each social network, according to Pernod Ricard.
The spirits maker isn't new to promoting a positive online environment. It was among the hundreds of companies that participated in the advertiser boycott of Facebook in July. The boycott was organized by advocacy groups including the ADL and NAACP to protest against the social media company's policies on hate speech. Brands ranging from Adidas to Verizon joined the boycott, while Walmart, McDonald's and Kellogg's were among the companies that quietly stopped advertising on Facebook but didn't take an official stance on the issue, according to an independent analysis. Facebook pledged to take better action against hate speech, but continued to face criticism for its policies. Pernod Ricard's ongoing efforts are a sign that brands are determined to combat hate speech and the social media companies that distribute it.