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GARM unveils new ad safety guidance around misinformation, placements, and the metaverse

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) has marked its third anniversary with the release of a series of guidelines on misinformation, ad placements, and the metaverse.

GARM, a cross-industry initiative established by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), is also working with WFA’s National Associations Council to ensure the entirety of its updated framework is applied at local level through national advertiser associations.

“While digital media owners tend to be global players, it’s vital that we also take these vital controls down to a local market level. Brand safety standards also need to be applied by all digital media owners so that advertisers can be sure that their messages aren’t funding bad actors or appearing against content that damages their standing in the eyes of their customers,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA.

The guidelines around misinformation have been updated following the events of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The new guidelines, which have been added to the existing GARM Brand Safety Floor and Suitability Framework, have been designed to provide a structure to demonetising misinformation.

The misinformation guidelines have been developed in collaboration with the European Commission, and in consultation with NGO partners, such as Consumers International, Reporters without Borders, ADL, and NAACP.

Meanwhile, the new Adjacency Standards Framework defines, for the first time, minimum standards and an approach for managing ad placements relative to sensitive content within news feeds, stories, in-stream video, in-stream audio, and display overlays.

The aim of the standards is to provide buyers and sellers with a common framework for the management of ad placements next to sensitive, but suitable, content. This will enable brands to restrict or allow where their messages appear.

Finally, GARM has begun working on ways that it can help the industry to better understand brand safety principles and requirements within metaverse spaces, outlining its first steps to making the metaverse safe for ads. The aim is to identify appropriate opportunities within the metaverse that bring together content and behaviours.

“GARM has been set up to ensure that the business model for advertising doesn’t fund harm and we did this in a reactive way – after business practices took shape in digital social media. We must help the industry understand safety requirements before commercialization begins in the metaverse. We’re being asked by our members to start on this journey as new spaces emerge. We must ensure that advertising is aligned with sustainable and responsible growth models,” said Rob Rakowitz, GARM Co-founder and Initiative Lead.