Social media giants; facebook, Twitter and Youtube have agreed to a deal with the world’s major advertisers over how they define harmful content. This follows an advertising boycott of Facebook earlier this year involving over 1000 companies and advertisers around the world. This boycott came after the Stop hate for profit campaign which urged advertisers to pull their ads on facebook and other platform to encourage radical policy reform against hate speech.
What to expect in the agreement?
The agreement brought together the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and three social media giants; Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. It will see the social networks use common definitions and interpretations of issues such as hate speech, aggression and bullying. Further details are being laid out by The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (Garm); a group established by the WFA in 2019 to create a more responsible and safer digital environment. After 15 months of negotiations with social media platforms, Garm is expected to decide on the definitions of harmful content, setting a “common baseline” across all platforms.
Why is this important?
For a long time, there has been a contentious debate about online bullying and harassment; with many claiming that social media platforms haven’t done enough to curb these ills. Having a common definition of harassment will make it possible to measure and compare metrics about these harmful behaviors across all platforms; thus giving advertisers the power to choose a platform that is better suited for their content. This will prevent the possibility of an ad appearing adjacent to harmful or unsuitable content.
Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have been working overtime to make their platform safe. However, the results have been largely unsatisfactory. With this new deal, these platforms will have a baseline with which social media networks shall determine cases of harmful behaviour. However, although they publicly welcomed the agreement, the social networks haven’t agreed to making immediate changes yet.