Facebook: Partnerships are 'critical' to brand safety

Tie-up with rival platforms in media alliance is acknowledgement that no one company can solve brand-safety issues alone.

Facebook: 'We need greater collaboration across the industry'
Facebook: 'We need greater collaboration across the industry'

Facebook has acknowledged that greater collaboration across the industry – including with rival platforms – is the only way to effectively solve the pervasive brand-safety issues that have dogged digital media for several years.

"Partnerships are critical for this," Facebook Asia-Pacific director of product marketing James Tan said.

Tan was speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific a day after Facebook tied up with Google, Twitter and a host of the world’s biggest advertisers, agency groups and media owners to form the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

The premise of the alliance is for members to use their "collective power to significantly improve the health of the media ecosystem" by identifying specific collaborative actions, processes and protocols for protecting consumers and brands online.

Significantly, it is the first time Facebook and Google, the world’s two biggest media owners, have collaborated on brand safety.

The alliance is one example of how Facebook is opening itself up to partnerships to help improve the digital media environment, Tan explained.

"We know that to be truly effective in tackling harmful online content, we need greater collaboration across the industry and with regulators," he said. "We're doing everything we can to keep people and advertisers safe on our platform.

"We know there will always be bad actors who will try to game our systems, and staying ahead of these challenges is our top priority and key to growing the value we provide to people, communities and clients."

The platform has added brand-safety partners to its Facebook Marketing Partners programme for the first time this year to allow advertisers to work with third parties to manage their brand-safety controls for Facebook campaigns.

Last week, it added Integral Ad Science to its certified brand safety partners, alongside Double Verify and OpenSlate.

As well as joining forces to tackle the spread of harmful content, online platforms are also converging behind a common theme of privacy, according to Facebook Asia-Pacific director of product marketing Sarah Bennison.

"As Mark Zuckerberg shared earlier this year, a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today's open platforms," Bennison said. "We are also seeing other players recognise this balance between privacy and an open platform."

In May, Zuckerberg unveiled a major overhaul of Facebook’s core social network and its suite of apps that placed greater emphasis on giving users more ways to have "private" connections.

It was followed by an announcement that a new "clear history" tool – internally referred to as "Off-Facebook activity control" – would roll out over the next few months, allowing users to delete data that is associated with their account but has been collected from Facebook.

At the time, Facebook warned advertisers that the tool has the potential to inhibit its ad-targeting capabilities.

Tan said other targeting options are still available should users choose to activate the tool and is steering advertisers across Asia-Pacific towards targeting users based on native on-Facebook activity.

"We are trying to work with advertisers to give them the opportunity to succeed in a privacy-first world, with things like the Facebook pixel, for example," he added.

"We think it [privacy] is the right thing for the ecosystem, but we don’t think it is a trade-off between consumer privacy and business objectives." 

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

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