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Facebook launches brand safety updates amid advertiser pressure

Facebook updates its brand safety offering

Facebook is introducing an inventory filter that will offer marketers a more detailed breakdown of what they're buying against.

The filter applies to ads within Instant Articles, Audience Network in-stream videos. Facebook is calling it "a more intuitive control" that will give advertisers consistent brand safety profiles across different media.

Facebook has broken its inventory into three categories: limited, standard and full. If an advertiser selects limited then their ads will be fully protected against, for example, bad language. Standard offers moderate protection, and full offers minimal protection.

The inventory filter builds on what Facebook already offers. Its limited inventory option is similar to its existing "exclude categories" feature.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company will be rolling out the feature in the coming weeks, and said initial testing has been "positive" but wouldn't expand further.

Advertisers have been loudly calling for Facebook to improve its brand safety standards for some time, raising questions over how to protect their brands from appearing next to hate speech or misinformation.

Last month, Facebook's content policies came under further scrutiny in the wake of the New Zealand Christchurch mosque shooting. Not only was the attack broadcast live on the platform, but the social network had to remove a further 1.5m related videos from its site.

Although the initial Facebook Live stream wasn't monetised, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) urged brands last week to put pressure on social media platforms to do better when it came to policing all content within their walls. The trade body called on clients to “think carefully about where they place advertising” as a matter of moral responsibility.

WFA chief executive Stephan Loerke said: “Marketers must reflect on the extent and terms on which they fund these platforms," on the whole.

For Facebook's part, it has been collaborating with Double Verify, Integral Ad Science, IAB and 4A's to work toward improving brand safety on its platform.

In January, the social media giant also introduced brand safety certification for third parties.

In March, Facebook advertising chief David Fischer explained: "We are spending more on safety and security on our platform than all of our revenue for the first year we were public in 2012 and that’s as it should be."

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