Besieged by a rapidly expanding advertising boycott, Facebook on Monday outlined additional measures designed to protect brands on its platform.
With the help of the Media Rating Council (MRC), Facebook will evaluate its partner and content monetization policies and the brand-safety controls it makes available to advertisers -- although the audit likely won't emerge for at least six months.
Among the provisions of the MRC’s standard are enforcement requirements to be followed when content is determined to violate the “floor” for brand safety. Below this floor, which is defined by the 4As, such content should not be monetized for advertising at all.
“The point of the audit is to evaluate the effectiveness of Facebook’s methods for ensuring that advertisers are protected across Facebook’s platforms against having their ads placed in proximity to content they deem inappropriate. And, that these methods comply with our industry minimum standards for brand-safety practices,” George Ivie, CEO-executive director of the The MRC, said on Monday.
Ivie said the MRC and Facebook had been in discussions for more than a year about auditing its brand-safety protocols.
The timeline for the audit is undetermined, in part, because the MRC and Facebook have yet to execute a formal agreement for the audit, Ivie said. “Our best estimate is approximately six months, maybe slightly longer,” he said.
The MRC issued industry standards for brand safety in 2018, which built upon prior work it did in creating standards for ad verification practices.
For Facebook, news of the audit comes amid a growing boycott by advertisers over what they consider to be its failure to curb President Trump and other messengers of hate.
As of Monday, the list of advertisers committed to temporarily suspending advertising in the U.S. on Facebook-owned properties included Microsoft, Starbucks, Diageo, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Unilever, Ford Motor Co., Honda America, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s and Levi’s.
That’s despite Facebook's move last Friday to modify some of its content policies, including adding labeling posts from influential figures that violate its standard content policies.