- Facebook announced monetization eligibility standards in a company news post yesterday in a bid to show its support for brand safety and provide publishers and creators clearer guidance around which types of content and Facebook Pages can be monetized through advertising.
- The post stated sharing content that repeatedly violates the Content Guidelines for Monetization, share clickbait or sensationalized news or post misinformation and fake news might lose the ability to run ads. The guidelines don’t cover every scenario, but should be used as an indicator of which types of content are likely to be eligible to generate revenue. The guidelines are immediately being applied to videos on Facebook and will roll out to Instant Articles over time.
- The guidelines come at a time when Facebook is testing in-stream video ads with hundreds of publishers, per The Wall Street Journal. Some these publishers are creating content for the new Watch video platform for original programming, according to the Journal.
Facebook is clearly looking to get ahead of the brand safety concerns Google faced this spring when major brands and ad agencies boycotted its digital properties over offensive videos on YouTube. With the recent launch of Watch, there is a greater chance of brands' ads appearing adjacent to offensive content, something Facebook is trying to address with these guidelines and encourage brands to invest in ads as this is where the majority of Facebook's revenue comes from.
With early indications that Watch is drawing an audience, coming out with standards early in its roll out gives Facebook an opportunity to build a quality environment. In contrast, Google didn't start really digging in on brand safety until after marketers started leaving YouTube and now it is in the position of having to clean up an existing mess.
"I think we can expect Facebook, and everyone in the advertising space, to continue the trend of transparency and quality assurance for advertisers," Jason Beckerman, CEO and co-founder at Unified, in an email statement provided to Marketing Dive. "The key will be if these standards are baked into any new innovation that launches from the start, like you are seeing here."
Google has also recently ramped up efforts to create a safer environment for brands. Last month Google added more granular filters to help advertisers avoid controversial content, with options including standard-issue filters such as violence and nudity and also more refined options like political satire.
While Google faced the brunt of brand safety concerns this year, Facebook was no stranger to controversial content last year during the election season when it was charged with spreading fake news on its platform while profiting from ads on those fake news websites. The uproar eventually led to CEO Mark Zuckerberg releasing a manifesto addressing the issue and outlining steps Facebook was taking to fight fake news on its platform.
Because Google and Facebook together control most digital advertising, far outpacing any competition in terms of reach and revenue, it’s important for the online ad industry that both are willing to take on offensive and controversial content and acknowledge brand safety concerns. In the short term, steps taken by both will likely have some impact on ad revenue, but those steps could strengthen digital advertising in the long term.