US trade bodies move to restore voters' trust in online advertising with PoliticalAd icon

Controversy over election interference has prompted US lawmakers to publicly question social networks in recent months

Amid ongoing controversy over online political advertising, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has unveiled an initiative to improve transparency in the space, including a PoliticalAd icon aimed at helping voters better understand the provenance of such messaging.

The initiative launched today (May 22), building upon the DAA's YourAdChoices program, with the PoliticalAd icon (see image below) hyperlinking to the political advertiser’s name, contact information, contribution or expenditure records (when applicable), individual contacts, and other required disclosures.

This adheres to rules laid down in newly issued guidance as part of the initiative which will be independently enforced by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) plus the Data & Marketing Association (DMA).

Lou Mastria, executive director of the DAA, said the initiative was geared towards addressing issues raised by emerging technologies, which was exemplified when representatives of social media firms were hauled in front of Congress over election interference in the last 12 months.

“Over the last several months, the DAA has facilitated an industry dialogue on the best ways to increase transparency around digital political advertising, and we were able to reach consensus on this common-sense approach built on accepted standards and proven tools,” said Mastria. “The PoliticalAd icon will give voters instant, easy access to information about the digital political ads they see, directly from the ads themselves.”

The DAA’s new political advertising transparency initiative is modeled on the DAA’s YourAdChoices program, which offers consumers a gateway to information and control over Interest Based Advertising (IBA) through the ubiquitous blue AdChoices icon, now served more than a trillion times a month globally.

The principles behind the latest initiative have also been backed by a host of additional trade bodies including the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the American Advertising Federation (AAF) plus the 4A’s.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.