Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Sign Brand Safety Agreement With WFA; Accept Hate Speech Audits

In what is being hailed as “major progress” by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have agreed to the commitments of the “first global brand safety” and sustainability framework for their advertising policies. On Wednesday, September 23, WFA announced that the social media giants have reached an agreement with the group over a common set of definitions for hate speech as well as other harmful content.

Followed by negotiations that lasted for 15 months, WFA said in a statement that the initial changes in the deal will be announced later this month. The agreement requires the social media platforms to be a part of an independent audit on how they are not only categorising but also reporting and removing contents that are deemed harmful. The milestone was achieved through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) which is a cross-industry initiative founded and led by WFA along with the support of other trade bodies.

Key areas of the agreement

From adopting the common definitions of harmful content to developing reporting standards, WFA elaborated the “four key” areas of the agreement:

  1. Adoption of GARM common definitions for harmful content;
  2. Development of GARM reporting standards on harmful content;
  3. Commitment to have independent oversight on brand safety operations, integrations and reporting;
  4. Commitment to develop and deploy tools to better manage advertising adjacency.

WFA CEO Stephan Loerke has called the issue of harmful content as one of the biggest challenges of the generation while also noting the “critical role” of the advertisers. Therefore, Loerke added that WFA is pleased to have reached the agreement to make the “necessary improvements”.

The recent announcement comes with the US Elections 2020 are just around the corner and an ongoing global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. From misinformation regarding the global health crisis to political advertising on the social media platforms, it has been months since Facebook, Twitter among other websites were put under the radar for the contentious content. WFA CEO said that the deal would ensure a “safer social media environment” that would lead to “huge benefits”.

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