Advertisers can play a key role in defunding dis/misinformation and promoting quality journalism from diverse sources to support credible narratives.
Advertising can support the fight against disinformation and misinformation by funding reputable, high-quality, and publicly accountable publishers and broadcasters; taking swift action against publishers who peddle inaccuracies for commercial gain; and supporting public education around critical evaluation of media content quality and trustworthiness.
Advertisers should also take action to ensure that they do not inadvertently fund disinformation. The suppression of viable and accurate information is a form of misinformation in its own way.
Strong positions should not automatically be classified as disinformation. This manifesto aims to support pluralistic, quality journalism and content.
However, it confronts misinformation/disinformation that either intentionally or unintentionally seeks to deceive. Please also see CAN’s Hate Speech Manifesto which articulates how mis/disinformation targets particular groups or minority communities.
For brands and advertisers, this presents both a commercial risk, and a potential opportunity. If advertisers reward publishers who are more accountable and produce high-quality journalism, this could both drive up quality and reduce inaccurate and misleading content.
Increasingly, consumers choose brands that align with their own values – appearing alongside misleading content now presents a reputational risk, while there is brand value for organisations that take a leading position on this contentious issue.
For advertisers, the use of misleading content to increase traffic falsely distorts the market; suppressing the misinformation industry has the potential to level the playing field.
Funding mis/disinformation also risks advertising effectiveness. The ASA has a mandate to tackle deceptive advertising, so this manifesto will focus predominantly on deceptive content.
We urge organisations to follow and include these commitments in all agency briefs:
Audit Suppliers, SSPs, DSPs, social platforms, by assessing:
Given that many news organisations take a polarising position to identify themselves with a target user segment, the differentiation between subjective, partisan journalism and fake, irresponsible, and low-quality journalism is not clear-cut and subjective decisions will have to be made. Advertisers should:
Audit publishers on your inclusion list by:
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