Tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter have launched the first industry-wide initiative with global advertising agencies and brands in a bid to “rapidly improve digital safety,” as tech platforms increasingly face scrutiny from regulators.
For the first time, some of the biggest ad agencies including WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, GroupM and Dentsu, and brands such as Unilever, Bayer, Mastercard and Adidas along with Teads, YouTube, Unruly and Verizon Media have teamed up to address harmful and misleading content.
The organisation, called the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, founded by World Federation of Advertisers members, will host its first formal meeting at Cannes today to discuss how it will go about sustaining a healthy ecosystem and taking responsibility.
The announcement was made at Cannes Lions festival and although what the alliance will actually do is still up in the air, the initial steps the organisation will take will be to “form and empower an inclusive working group charged with developing a set of initial ideas and prioritising next steps.” The group said its work will be “transparent” but did not outline when it would reveal what was agreed. Those involved will meet regularly and work collaboratively to identify protocols and processes that will protect consumers online.
Facebook’s VP for global account partnerships Will Platt-Higgins told Ad Age: “they and we believe that building an alliance of leading advertisers, leading agencies, media companies and industry bodies is the best way of doing that versus just the clients or just the agencies.”
Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble’s global media director Gerry D’Angelo said a collaborative approach is the only way to solve brand safety. “Until now, advertisers have been having a whole series of one-on-one conversations with platforms and I don't think they've been as productive as they can. Collaboration is probably the most realistic thing to aim for,” he said in a panel session at Cannes on Monday.
The collaboration comes at a time when social media platforms are being called out by regulators for publishing harmful and damaging content and brands are becoming increasingly concerned about where their ads appear online.
“Now all the measured platforms have measurement and verification in place for viewability, audience reach and anti-fraud, we’re moving to transparency 2.0, which is auditing of brand safety and control over content quality,” Procter & Gamble’s marketing boss Marc Pritchard told Marketing Week.