The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has called on all brands globally to hold social media platforms to account in light of recent failures to block dangerous and hateful content.

The announcement, made at the WFA Global Marketer Conference in Lisbon, follows on the heels of a call by the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) for international advertiser solidarity to force Facebook to take action after the livestreaming on the platform of a terrorist attack in Christchurch.

In a statement, the WFA said it was “standing alongside its member association and colleagues at the ANZA, which has issued a call asking for members to think carefully about where they place advertising and challenging platform owners to do more.”

As funders of the online advertising system, brands have the ability to put pressure on platforms to do more to prevent their services and algorithms from being hijacked by those with malicious intent, the WFA said.

Advertisers have a moral responsibility to consider more than just the effectiveness and efficiency such platforms provide for brand messages, it added.

New WFA president Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard, observed the ever-growing influence of online platforms in shaping cultures and mobilising communities around the world.

“This means brands and platforms must assume a higher level of responsibility to ensure these online environments are forces for good, not conflict or violence,” he said.

“That begins with acknowledging flaws and quickly investing in lasting solutions. To drive change we need less debate and more action.”

Improving the online ecosystem is a top priority for WFA members: 47% of respondents to a WFA member barometer conducted this month (of more than 200 senior marketers from over 100 brands representing $125bn in ad spend) cited improving the online advertising ecosystem as the single biggest issue the marketing industry needed to address in 2019.

Sourced from WFA; additional content by WARC staff