Social media platforms appear to be getting their houses in order when it comes to important issues like brand safety and media responsibility according to the latest Media Responsibility Index which is published by IPG Mediabrands.
A quantitative report that strives to raise industry standards around brand safety and media responsibility in advertising, the Media Responsibility Index was first published last August and is the first of its kind when it comes to assessing overall responsibility of the different social media platforms.
The platforms invited to participate – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter and YouTube – account for the lion’s share of the social media users around the world.
Each platform was scored against key dimensions that provide deeper contextual insights across Media Responsibility Principles (MRPs). The current Media Responsibility Index reveals that these platforms are seeing the need to improve their media responsibility efforts in order to protect the communities they serve, as well as take accountability for their actions.
This latest Index, led by Mediabrands agency Reprise and based on a second half 2020 assessment, found that top social platforms’ adherence to media responsibility has improved significantly across nearly all 10 Media Responsibility Principles (MRPs). These include Promote Respect, Protect People, Diverse + Representative, Data Collection + Use, Children’s Wellbeing, No Misinformation / Disinformation, No Hate Speech, Enforce Policy, Advertising Transparency and Accountability. In addition, the Index has been endorsed by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), the leading global industry body on media responsibility governance.
Platforms delivering an average lift of 11 percentage points across the assessment. The largest increases were seen in the agency network’s Promote Respect and Accountability principles, as well as many platforms improving their efforts to reduce Hate Speech and Misinformation/Disinformation.
According to Eamon Fitzpatrick, managing director IPG Mediabrands Ireland “Our Media Responsibility Principles are designed to be a guiding way forward for the industry. In light of ongoing broader conversations around social media and its role in society, it is encouraging that the latest Index indicates improvements by Reddit, Snap, TikTok, Twitch and YouTube against the Promote Respect principle, as well as movement by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter on the principle of No Mis/Disinformation.”
Other key findings of the Media Responsibility Index include:
- The platforms with the most gaps with MRP in 1H 2020 had the greatest opportunity to improve and have – most notably, TikTok: TikTok was the most improved platform since the previous Index. As TikTok’s growth surged in 2020, the platform demonstrated an ability to take a forward-looking approach to building its platform with the Index’s key principles in mind, and second half 2020 assessment results reflect a marked pivot toward enhanced third-party brand safety partnerships.
The latest Index results newly introduce TikTok’s increased focus on principle 3: Diverse and Representative — a principle they were not able to provide substantial public data for first half 2020. TikTok also saw substantial shifts in their third-party brand safety partnerships and policy enforcement approaches.
- All platforms took meaningful steps forward in policy enforcement: Misinformation, Election Integrity and Health emerge as major themes where platforms stepped up to the plate. In the battle against misinformation, platforms did the advance work to ensure their policies were transparent, principle-based and enforceable in a consistent manner by leveraging controls and features that felt native to each platform, all while contentious broader public discourse continued and sizable portions of the U.S. still challenged the election results.
- Enabling more control over Feed environments and UGC is a goal of many platforms: IPG Mediabrands engaged with platforms about their approach to and products under development to answer for this demand. At the time surveyed, Snap and YouTube shared that they expect further improvements to UGC controls in early 2021, and other platforms committed to paying more attention to putting into effect more UGC controls and tools for 2021.
- Platforms generally want to do better and are committed to media responsibility: All of the platforms voluntarily participated in the assessment and expressed continued interest in ongoing collaborative efforts and solutions for the industry. And each platform made significant strides and demonstrated minor to considerable individual improvement throughout the year.
- Applying pressure and creating a culture of accountability works, but there’s more work to do: While the scrutiny these platforms face may sometimes seem insurmountable, events throughout the past year have proven that holding partners accountable in the stratum of media responsibility can yield positive results.