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Consumers expect brands to pressure social media companies to clean up their act

June 25, 2018 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Today’s consumers expect brands to navigate the social media landscape more responsibly. A new Edelman Trust Barometer study shows that consumers across nine countries expect brands and marketers to think about content and context and to boycott certain environments when purchasing media. Consumers are aware of the influence advertisers have in the marketplace, given their impact on revenue. Edelman’s research shows that people lack confidence in social media and look to brands to leverage their influence to act on social media problems such as fake news and data integrity

Environment clearly matters, and brands are accountable for their choices. Nearly half of all consumers globally agree it is a brand’s own fault if its advertising appears next to hate speech. They also feel that the points of view that near a brand’s advertising and marketing messages are an indication of that brand’s values and what it stands for.

Additional findings from Edelman ‘s review of social media in 9 countries includes:

  • Only 40% (34% in the U.S.) trust that social media platforms will address fake news and hate speech.
  • 60% (61% in the U.S.) report that they do not trust social media platforms to behave responsibly with user data.
  • 40% (38% in the U.S) say they have deleted at least one social media account in the past year because they did not trust the platform to treat personal information properly.
  • Nearly two-thirds (62% and 48% in the U.S.) said that they want government to play a stronger role in regulating social media.

Importantly, consumers want brands to apply pressure on social platforms to protect them from inappropriate use of content and misuse of personal data. Nearly seventy percent of consumrs agree that brands should pressure social media to do more about false information and fake news and protect users from offensive/harmful content and to ensure personal data is protected and used ethically.

Consumers are demanding transparency and privacy protection from social platforms. However, they have little trust in them to fix these problems. And they clearly value the efforts that brands make to influence these issues. This represents an important time and opportunity for brand marketers to step in, act and enforce on behalf of the consumer. This with help rebuild trust in the media marketplace as well as in the brands that do so.

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