Facebook, YouTube, Twitter unify to address harmful content

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have struck an agreement with a group of advertising industry trade bodies to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content on their platforms.

After more than a year of talks facilitated through the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)-led Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), the social media platforms have all agreed that they will follow definitions for harmful content as laid out by GARM, work to develop a harmonised reporting framework, open up to independent oversight, and commit to developing and deploying tools to improve advertising placement. The first changes should be introduced this month.

“The issue of harmful content online has become one of the challenges of our generation,” said Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO. “As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements. A safer social media environment will provide huge benefits not just for advertisers and society but also to the platforms themselves.”

The WFA – whose GARM initiative is supported by other trades bodies including ANA, ISBA, and the 4As – is encouraging all of its members to apply the same advertising adjacency criteria for all their media spend, regardless of channel.

“We are delighted that GARM has made such significant progress in such a short period of time,” said Raja Rajamannar, WFA President and CMO at Mastercard. “I know these discussions have not been easy but these solutions when implemented, will offer more choice and control for advertisers and their agencies by supporting content that aligns with their values.”