WPP CEO: digital ad platforms need more responsibility
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WPP CEO: digital ad platforms need more responsibility

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s largest advertising company, has Facebook and Google in his sights. Speaking to CNBC, the outspoken ad boss said that the success both companies have had in capturing large sections of the digital advertising market comes with certain responsibilities; and that, as a result, they should be doing more to police the quality of the content on their sites.

Speaking directly about Facebook and Google, Sorrell said:

"They've always maintained they were sort of digital engineers standing there with their digital spanners, trying to tighten the nuts on their digital pipes and not being responsible for the content that was going through the pipes," but: "they can't just say look we're a technology company, we have nothing to do with the content that is appearing on our digital pages."

Sir Martin is hereby referencing not just the recent outcry at ‘fake news’, which both companies struggle to police, but also the suitability of the content digital ads are displayed besides. In this, Sir Martin believes, digital platforms should be beholden to the same standards as traditional media organisations.

He also has a clear idea of what the solution entails:

"The big issue for Google and Facebook is whether they are going to have human editing at this point ... of course they have the profitability. They have the margins to enable them to do it. And this is going to be the big issue — how far are they prepared to go?

"I think the most constructive way of doing it is getting Google and Facebook to understand the problem, which I think they do, and to get them to step up to control it just like any other media right now would in a traditional sense."


Dominion holds WPP in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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