Advertising Industry Doubles Down on Commitments to Combat Online Hate Speech

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As the industry continues to come together to combat online hate speech, advertising industry leaders the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) announced plans to scale #EngageResponsibly (#ER) later this year. #EngageResponsibly is an initiative seeded by Pernod Ricard, donated to the ANA, and combined with GARM to create an industry-wide initiative. This expanded effort will harness the power and reach of big brands and social media platforms to engage and empower small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and consumers. The goal is to combat online hate speech through education and action. This includes responsible social media dialog and behaviors and using social platforms' tools for reporting online hate speech incidents.

"More than 80% of Americans feel responsible for being part of the solution to tackle online hate speech. We know that more than 65% of SMBs want to take an active role in addressing online hate speech, but need tools and resources to guide their efforts," said Bob Liodice, CEO, ANA. "With this initiative, the ANA will bring together the industry to educate and inspire consumers to act. We will provide the industry with a turnkey, no-cost solution that matches the brand safety protocols used by those organizations committed to responsible advertising under the GARM framework. Our announcement today is a call for all those who care about online hate to join our efforts."

"WFA launched the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to harness the power of marketers and the broader industry collective to drive positive change in online environments. In partnership with the ANA, #EngageResponsibly advances this vital GARM work to improve brand safety on the critical issue of online hate speech. Together as an industry, we must come together to tackle online hate speech not only for the betterment of our industry, but in the interest of society," said Stephan Loerke, CEO, World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

"GARM's purpose is to bring cross-industry stakeholders together, including the social media platforms, to address safety online," said Rob Rakowitz, Initiative Lead for GARM. "Scaling an initiative like #EngageResponsibly empowers SMBs and consumers to join our efforts focused on education and action including how people and businesses can report and help remove online hate speech. Importantly, we plan to work closely with GARM's NGO partners and other NGOs throughout the efforts. This is a major milestone in our journey to continually reduce the existence of hateful content online."

ANA will lead the #EngageResponsibly business system harnessing the expertise of GARM, Brand Safety Institute (BSI) and ANA's Alliance for Inclusive Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) to deliver across key actions as follows.

Central to the efforts will be development of robust educational resources to help SMBs and consumers understand the issue of online hate speech, its linkage to real-world violence, and how to take action including using platforms' existing tools to report online hate speech and, for SMBs, how to manage brand safety.

A corresponding campaign will launch in conjunction to inspire SMBs and consumers to engage with the education and take action. The campaign will leverage platforms' and brands' channels to extend reach. Ongoing events and programming, starting with a kickoff event, will bring together industry leaders, NGOs, big brands, SMBs, platforms, influencers and consumers to educate and play an active role in eliminating online hate speech.

To galvanize the industry and set a strong foundation in advance of the education and campaign launch, ANA and GARM will be asking companies to sign a pledge to provide support and tangible actions to combat online hate speech.

#EngageResponsibly is led by ANA and GARM, with Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard NA, and Ivan Pollard, former General Mills CMO, serving as co-chairs. Pernod Ricard initiated #EngageResponsibly in 2020 and made initial investments in solutions for marketers and consumers to work in collaboration with platforms to stop the spread of online hate speech.

"We're proud to have seeded #EngageResponsibly, and we're thrilled to see ANA and GARM make it an industry-wide initiative," said Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard NA. "Online hate speech is not a hypothetical problem. Every day, thousands of hate-fueled conversations happen on social media. According to ADL, 35% of Americans have experienced online hate due to racial, religious, or sexual identity. It's a tremendous threat to public health, especially for adolescents. As advertisers, we cannot ask people to engage with us on social platforms, and then absolve ourselves of accountability for the hate they may experience there. This is our Return on Responsibility."

Addressing the problem at scale is core to the newly-expanded initiative. Piloting in the U.S., the ambition is to expand #EngageResponsibly in the future as the first globally scalable solution for big brands, SMBs and consumers to fight online hate speech. "Given their social media presence, SMBs are a tremendous ecosystem through which to scale efforts to drastically reduce hate online," said Ivan Pollard, former CMO of General Mills. "And we all know that passionate consumers have the ability to move mountains and change the world. Together, we will transform this initiative into a powerful, global movement to combat online hate speech."

"Marketers have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference for their brand, their business and the world. #EngageResponsibly provides the opportunity for brands to drive positive change by reducing online hate speech and its harmful effects in the real world," said Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard.

"Brands and businesses of all sizes, along with platforms and consumers, can all play a role in drastically reducing online hate speech. #EngageResponsibly empowers each of us to be a part of the solution," said Jacqui Stephenson, Global Responsible Marketing Officer, Mars Wrigley.

#EngageResponsibly is being developed collaboratively with platforms—Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snap—led by the ANA within the GARM environment.

"The #EngageResponsibly program marks another milestone for the Global Alliance for Responsible Media's continued progress to bring the industry together through action. We're looking forward to collaborating on educating consumers and small businesses on how to combat online hate," said Samantha Stetson, VP Client Council and Industry Trade Relations, Facebook.

"Hate has no place on our platform. At TikTok we continually work to maintain a supportive environment that enables our community to focus on what matters to them: being creative, finding community, and having fun. Our goal is to create a safe space where people support and lift each other up. We are excited to continue our partnership with GARM and have an opportunity to support an initiative like #EngageResponsibly," said Julie de Bailliencourt, Global Head of Product Policy, TikTok.

"Responsibility is our number one priority, and we are committed to working with the industry to build a sustainable and healthy digital ecosystem for everyone. We have been actively partnering with GARM since its inception, and we support their ongoing work to address safety online through initiatives like #EngageResponsibly," said Debbie Weinstein, Vice President, Global Solutions, YouTube.

"Everyone has a role to play in keeping the digital ecosystem safe, whether it's a business or individual. Never has it been more important to come together as one and continue to build on the momentum we have achieved thus far. We look forward to expanding upon the work that is being done to combat online hate and ensure people and brands feel safe in all of the digital places they spend time on," said Meg Haley, Global Head, Revenue Product Specialists, Twitter.

"We are proud to join this first-of-its kind, industry-wide effort to #EngageResponsibly and unite around our shared commitment to fight online hate. From the beginning, we've tried to be thoughtful about the architecture of Snapchat and designed our products to prioritize communication between close friends and prevent opportunities for unmoderated content to get reach. We believe we're in a moment where tech companies need to take stock of their policies and the design of their platforms to strengthen the ability to detect, combat, and prevent hate speech at scale. We are grateful to GARM and ANA for their leadership and look forward to identifying ways we can all do our part to create safer and healthier environments for our communities." - Nona Farahnik Yadegar, Director, Platform Policy, Snap.

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