Unilever Refriends Facebook; TV Carriage Battles Are Heating Up

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Refriended

Unilever will resume advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the United States after withdrawing last summer amid a wide scale brand protest over misinformation, The Wall Street Journal reports. The owner of Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, and other CPG brands said Thursday that it felt Facebook has made enough progress for it to feel comfortable resuming advertising. Rewind six months: Civil-rights groups asked marketers to pull ad spending from Facebook during the month of July in a campaign they dubbed “Stop Hate for Profit,” citing the inadequate progress by the company in addressing hate speech and misinformation. More than 1,100 advertisers did so. Unilever did not formally sign on but withdrew its spending nonetheless, as did Coca-Cola (Coke returned in October). Unilever also went a step further by halting its US advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the rest of the year, citing hate speech and divisive content.

TV Squabbles

A dispute between TV network Fuse Media and AT&T is emblematic of the beefs pay-TV providers and TV network owners have with each other a few times a year, Tim Peterson reports for Digiday. On Dec. 11, Fuse filed a complaint with the FCC against AT&T, which owns DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse and AT&T TV Now. Fuse alleges the telecom giant is discriminating against the TV network owner and favoring WarnerMedia’s own cable networks, like TBS and Cartoon Network, that Fuse claims feature programming and audiences similar to its own. But AT&T’s motivation may be less about propping up its TV networks and more about reducing affiliate costs. With the acceleration in cord cutting and rise in streaming, cable services are losing customers. Expect more of this kind of thing, with smaller TV networks forced to pivot to streaming-only properties to survive.  Read on.

TikTok Shock

TikTok appears to be back on the naughty list. US and UK lawmakers were shocked by a Business Insider story that the popular video sharing platform routes job applicants’ data to China without fully disclosing the practice. The company backtracked after it was approached by Business Insider, saying it would no longer send occasionally sensitive applicant information to the motherland. The confusion has given fire to China critics who accuse major Chinese tech firms of being Trojan horses for the Chinese Communist Party. Large brands are unlikely to be deterred, given the platform’s colossal youth audience. In one fresh example, Walmart hosted the social platform’s first-ever shoppable live-stream event Friday – a sign TikTok is wading deeper into the lucrative ecommerce pool. More on that. 

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