Vodafone New Zealand is acting to prevent its advertising appearing on websites promoting “hate speech” or “fake news”.
The move specifically targets automated advertising technologies in which sites, such as Google or Facebook, use algorithms to place ads where customers desired by the advertiser can see them.
However, while a “powerful” and largely effective tool, automated advertising can also lead to Vodafone’s ads appearing next to offensive messages incompatible with its brand, the company said.
“Additionally, automated advertising technologies can have the effect of generating revenue for outlets focused on hate speech and fake news,” it said.
To prevent this, Vodafone now requires third parties and website owners to “take all measures necessary” to stop its advertising appearing on hate speech and fake news outlets.
It defines these as sites predominantly aimed at degrading women or vulnerable minorities and misleading readers by presenting news that had no credible primary source as fact-based.
Vodafone’s move comes amid fears “fake news” attacks influenced the recent US presidential election.
Vodafone New Zealand consumer director Matt Williams said it is fortunate New Zealand’s media landscape has not been affected by a rise in hate speech and fake news outlets seen in other markets the company works in.
“Vodafone has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion; we also greatly value the integrity of the democratic processes and institutions that are often the targets of purveyors of fake news,” group chief executive Vittorio Colao said. NZN