Third-party verification and demonetising certain types of content are among the steps that social-media companies like Facebook can take to show advertisers they are addressing concerns around hateful and misleading content, according to Diego Scotti, the CMO of telecoms giant Verizon.

Verizon has not joined the official advertising boycott of Facebook, which is calling for the social platform to enhance its efforts to stop the dissemination of hateful and deceptive content.

But the telecoms firm recently paused its ad spending on Facebook after learning that ads were appearing next to conspiracy-theory content. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Why Verizon stopped running ads on Facebook – and what the social-media giant needs to do next.)

Scotti told WARC in an interview that Verizon is actively working with Facebook to tackle such issues. He also provided some recommendations about how social-media properties can promote brand safety in fuller ways.

“In the case of this decision, it’s very clear to me that if you’re Facebook, or any other medium, first of all you have to guarantee that none of the advertisements of your advertisers are going to appear against any kind of controversial or wrong content,” he said.

While Scotti noted that Facebook has made “great” progress in terms of being able to identify objectionable content, the social-media company’s brand clientele need further reassurance on this critical matter.

“They do a very good job, but it’s not 100%,” he said “Even if there’s one ad that appears, like in this case, it’s not a good business arrangement. They need to solve that.”

Part of the solution for any digital-media property, Scotti continued, is third-party verification. “I don’t think media partners should be their own police … [saying,] ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine,’” he observed.

Introducing third-party verification does not reflect a lack of confidence in the honesty of major digital platforms, but is a best practice that can ultimately help all parties.

“It’s not that I don’t trust [the platform]. On anything, there should be some level of third-party verification. We have this with other partners,” Scotti pointed out.

YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by YouTube, is one player that has introduced this approach. And it has also demonetised specific types of content, which can protect advertisers from being placed in a difficult position.

“Media brands, like YouTube did a couple of years ago, also need to make a decision around demonetising certain categories of content or types of content that are controversial,” he said.

Sourced from WARC