Social video sharing site YouTube has been certified for brand safety by JICWEBS, the independent body striving for best practice and standards within the online advertising industry.

The news comes despite YouTube facing high-profile criticism late last year which saw a number of household brands drop advertising with the platform over concerns ads were being placed among “exploitative content”.

However, a representative of JICWEBS has clarified that the certification is based on companies demonstrating transparency around how their processes reduce risk – not necessarily whether they are brand safe in actuality. JICWEBS’ chairman, Richard Foan, said the company is demonstrating intent for higher standards by applying for certification; “YouTube is increasing transparency around their business practices by sharing this information and having it independently verified”.

Members of the advertising industry can apply for certification via an independent audit, such as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) or Business Publications Audit (BPA), to verify that processes meet JICWEBS’ Good Practice Principles. According to the update, YouTube has been proven to be taking sufficient measures to achieving brand safety.

The director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), Paul Bainsfair, called the certification a “breakthrough step” for YouTube. It follows a rocky year for the site’s reputation in advertising, which was brought under the spotlight again with the case of influencer Paul Logan, resulting in a temporary suspension of ad placements on his channel and a revision of how influencers qualify for advertising on the platform.

YouTube has claimed to be doubling down on efforts to ensure brand safety for advertisers as well and protecting users viewing content online. This includes measures such as its “three-tier suitability” reporting system, allowing advertisers to monitor and review appropriate ad placements, granting them control over which content is deemed suitable to serve ads next to.

“Providing more transparency and visibility to our advertising partners remains important to us, so we are pleased YouTube has achieved certification for brand safety by JICWEBS,” said Ronan Harris, managing director at Google UK & Ireland; “We remain committed to listening and working with the industry on cross-industry standards for digital advertising.”

YouTube is the latest to receive certification from JICWEBS joining companies including Havas Media Group, Affectv, RadiumOne and Collective, taking the total list of companies certified for brand safety to 61.