Media Brands Across the Board Improve in Terms of Safety and Responsibility

IPG Mediabrands released its latest Media Responsibility Index, a quantitative report that aims to raise industry standards around brand safety and media responsibility in advertising.

The latest Index, led by Mediabrands agency Reprise and based on a 2H 2020 assessment, found that
top social platforms’ adherence to media responsibility has improved significantly across nearly all 10 Media Responsibility Principles, with platforms delivering an average lift of 11 percentage points across the assessment.

The largest increases were seen in the agency network’s Promote Respect and Accountability principles. Many platforms also improved their efforts to reduce hate speech and misinformation or disinformation.

The Mediabrands MRPs have officially been adopted by the 4As, and the Index has been endorsed by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

“We created the Media Responsibility Index with the belief that social platforms would welcome our Index as a helpful tool, rather than being perceived as another ranking. This current Index shows that the platforms heard our call to action and moved swiftly to work together to be better and contribute to a more positive future for advertising and our world,” said Elijah Harris, Global Head of Social, Mediabrands’ agency Reprise.

“As an agency partner to both platforms and brands, we have a unique opportunity to provide data and insights that empower the larger industry to look out for one another when it comes to the communities a brand serves and the content they see.”

The platforms invited to participate – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube – encompass the majority of users globally who are active in a social media community.

Each platform was scored against key dimensions aimed at providing deeper contextual insights across MRP reporting; the insights were gathered throughout Q3 2020.

Key findings:

The platforms with the most gaps with MRP in 1H 2020 had the greatest opportunity to improve and have – most notably, TikTok: TikTok was the most improved platform.

As TikTok’s growth surged in 2020, the platform demonstrated an ability to take a forward-looking approach to building its platform with the Index’s key principles in mind, and 2H 2020 assessment results reflect a marked pivot toward enhanced third-party brand safety partnerships.

The latest Index results show TikTok’s increased focus on principle 3: Diverse and Representative — a principle they were not able to provide substantial public data for in 1H 2020. TikTok also saw substantial shifts in their third-party brand safety partnerships and policy enforcement approaches.

All platforms took meaningful steps forward in policy enforcement: Misinformation, election integrity, and health emerge as major themes where platforms stepped up to the plate.

In the battle against misinformation, platforms did the advance work to ensure their policies were transparent, principle-based, and enforceable in a consistent manner all while contentious broader public discourse continued and sizable portions of the U.S. still challenged the election results.

Enabling more control over Feed environments and UGC is a goal of many platforms: Snap and YouTube shared that they expect further improvements to UGC controls in early 2021, and other platforms committed to paying more attention to putting into effect more UGC controls and tools for 2021.

Platforms generally want to do better and are committed to media responsibility: All of the platforms voluntarily participated in the assessment and expressed continued interest in ongoing collaborative efforts and solutions for the industry. Each platform made significant strides and demonstrated minor to considerable individual improvement throughout the year.

Applying pressure and creating a culture of accountability works, but there’s more work to do: While the scrutiny these platforms face may sometimes seem insurmountable, events throughout the past year have proven that holding partners accountable in media responsibility can yield positive results.

Consumers, advertisers, and regulators alike have advocated for more leverage and transparency in their transactions with many large social platforms. The latest results indicate that while platform improvements and enhancements have been made, many stakeholders are still seeking additional leverage and transparency to align marketing efforts with media principles.

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