Facebook reassures ISBA members that brand safety is paramount

On 26 Sept 2013Facebook’s Simon Milner told ISBA members “we have gone a long way to address your concerns”. The UK Director of Policy for the social giant was referring to steps taken to prevent ads being served on grossly offensive Facebook pages; a serious concern among advertisers keen to avoid the reputational damage that can be inflicted to their brands by ad misplacement.  

Speaking to senior marketers from leading brands – among them Tesco, Nationwide and Santander – Milner explained that Facebook was putting the safety of brands and users at the top of its agenda. He explained that since strengthening the reporting process, clarifying its user policies and putting more resources into enforcing those policies, there had been ‘no escalation in advertiser issues’. 

Members of ISBA’s Digital, Data and Direct Action Group heard how Facebook had worked closely with campaigners over the summer to address concerns about offensive content appearing on its group pages. Milner explained that during its review process all advertising on all group pages (and before that all ‘controversial’ pages) had been suspended. 

Milner confirmed to ISBA members that the process of sweeping pages to determine whether content was appropriate for advertising against, which was once done manually, is now a fully automated process.

Milner admitted that there were ‘no guarantees’ that controversial content will never appear against ads, but that this is only likely to happen if individual Facebook users posted such content on their ‘timelines’ adjacent to ads that were already served on that page. 

Bob Wootton, ISBA’s Director of Media and Advertising, said: “Given the concern from our members about ad misplacement, some of whom pulled out of Facebook over the summer, it was very useful to hear from the horse’s mouth precisely what has been done to assuage those fears. We are grateful to Simon for meeting our members face-to-face, and providing some much-needed reassurances.”