Advertiser alliance tiptoes towards brand safety deal with social media giants

For advertisers dealing with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube is a bit like parents with a naughty teenager: no house parties while we’re away they say only to find there’s a marquee erected at the bottom of the garden.

Now something called the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), led by the World Federation of Advertisers with other trade associations and big advertisers, reckons it’s struck a deal with the aforementioned global “platforms” to clean up their act.

This follows the big advertiser boycott of Facebook (most of Facebook’s revenue comes from smaller advertisers) over so-called hate speech. Facebook has already promised to rein in some political ads as the US presidential election looms.

GARM reckons it’s agreed four actionable measures led by the adoption of an agreed definition of harmful content plus there will be common reporting standards and a commitment to independent oversight. Signatories have also agreed to implement new tools to prevent ads appearing where they shouldn’t.

WFA president and Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar says: “I know these discussions have not been easy but these solutions when implemented, will offer more choice and control for advertisers and their agencies by supporting content that aligns with their values.”

GARM will need to be rather more specific than that although controlling social media is the modern equivalent of herding cats – with some of the biggest companies in the world profiting mightily be giving the cats free rein.

Advertisers too, though, could do more. As long as they rely on programmatic media buying when it comes to their digital spend, “mistakes” are inevitable, whatever Facebook, Google and the others might promise.

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