Facebook adds whitelisting to brand-safety suite but says it will 'never be perfect'

Platform is rolling out more rigorous controls in acknowledgement it will 'never be perfect' at removing harmful content.

Facebook: testing 'dynamic content sets' with select advertisers
Facebook: testing 'dynamic content sets' with select advertisers

Facebook is testing stricter brand-safety controls, including an option for advertisers to whitelist publishers and content types they want to appear alongside in-stream video.

The social media platform is testing "dynamic content sets" with a select group of advertisers that provides a content-level whitelisting tool for those that are clients of ad-verification partners Integral Ad Science, OpenSlate and Zefr. Zefr is a new brand-safety partner for Facebook. The tool, which is limited to in-stream placements, will allow advertisers to routinely adjust the kind of video content their brands appear next to.

Facebook is also testing publisher whitelists for Audience Network and in-stream ads, with a view to expanding the test more broadly next year.

Going forward, advertisers will be able to manage inventory filters, set up block lists and receive delivery reports for entire accounts within Business Manager or Ads Manager, instead of having to apply controls one campaign at a time. The company is also improving its delivery reports to allow advertisers to search by account ID or publisher.

The platform announced the new controls on Wednesday (20 November), as part of its ambition to "provide a safe environment for people and advertisers" and to give advertisers "more transparency and sophisticated tools to suit their brand".

"All of these policies and controls contribute to a quality ecosystem among people, publishers and advertisers," the company said in a blog post.

Facebook acknowledged that the most effective way to ensure brand safety "is to prevent harmful content from ever appearing on our services in the first place", but added "we’ll never be perfect" in that regard.

"We continue to make investments in technology and people to limit as much as we can," the company added. 

The additional controls address advertiser concerns over brand safety, but the platform is still battling with government officials over its political advertising stance.

Facebook has said it will not fact-check political advertising, meaning politicians are permitted to take out campaigns that spread lies and misinformation on the platform. It has argued that the move promotes free speech, but it has drawn harsh criticism from industry observers and politicians. At the same time, Twitter and TikTok have banned all political advertising, and Snapchat has affirmed it fact-checks all political ads before they run.

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

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