In two recent interviews, Facebook executives discuss their company's plans to ensure brand safety on its platform, as well as challenging brands to do their own work on the issue.
First, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, North America, Nada Stirratt, spoke with AdExchanger. Answering a question about advertisers' top concerns, Stirratt went directly to brand safety.
Brand safety is a question everybody asks about, not just on Facebook. Our job is to get better and better so there are absolutely no bad actors on our platform.
Is that job ever done? No. We represent the globe. As the globe has bad actors, so will a platform as large as ours.
On the related issue of the customer experience, she admits that the company is prioritizing it in a way it may not have in the past.
The company has made dramatic changes to be so clear when it comes to protecting consumer privacy. Rigor, transparency, safeguarding and protecting people from harm is paramount. As Mark [Zuckerberg, CEO] has said repeatedly, there is no amount of money we won’t spend until we get this right.
Three years ago, maybe that degree of rigor, attention and severity was not as overt.
He echoed Stirratt's comments about Facebook's efforts to ensure brand safety on the platform.
At the most basic level, Facebook promises to keep all brands "safe" from the most offensive material with its content "floor", policed by its enforcement teams and technology.
Beyond that, Steinback sees a larger role for brands - and presumably for Brand Safety Officers - in working with Facebook to achieve this.
[Facebook] also encourages advertisers to consider the kinds of content which one might not categorise as offensive, but which are likely to jar when appearing alongside a particular type of brand.
"For some people, safety is not being in a situation that can be embarrassing for them," he said.
To that end, Steinback talked about a brand "tolerances".
[T]he social network is urging brands to define their own "tolerances", and create a media strategy that is harmonious with campaign goals and business aims.
Facebook is making a point of educating clients about its ecosystem, and using resources, such as its bi-annual Transparency Report, to convey its efforts to create a safe environment for its users and advertisers.
It's this level of engaged and informed participation among all the different players in the digital advertising industry, that will ultimately keep brands from reputational harm. It will take the entire village, each provider in the supply chain looking after not only their own best interests but also those of the industry as a whole to create a safe, and profitable infrastructure.