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News 9 Feb 2021 - 2 min read

TikTok cleans up as IPG Mediabrands audits social media platforms, reviews investments

By Brendan Coyne - Editor

IPG Mediabrands latest audit of social media platforms finds they are all attempting to reduce harms. But TikTok has made the biggest gains. Backed by the world's biggest advertisers, the Media Responsibility Index will ultimately inform which platforms get the lion's share of the spoils.

What you need to know:

  • IPG Mediabrands has created an index that benchmarks social media platforms on media responsibility and brand safety.
  • Its latest audits show all platforms have made some improvements – for example cutting out hate speech, trying to tackle to spread of misinformation – but TikTok has made biggest strides.
  • The index is backed by the world's biggest advertisers. IPG Mediabrands says it will ultimately review spend based on whether or not platforms meet milestones.

Social media companies appear to be responding to efforts by advertisers and media buyers to make them clean up their platforms, or ultimately lose ad dollars.

Per IPG Mediabrands’ Media Responsibility Index, both incumbents and newcomers are responding to pressure and taking greater responsibility for dangerous or socially damaging content on their platforms.

It finds that all platforms have made some improvements over the last six months, but TikTok has made most progress.

The index is based on a set of 10 media responsibility principles and an audit of social media platforms against those principles to create a global benchmark.

The aim is to treat media responsibility as a key part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, where blue chips and, increasingly, the world’s biggest corporate financiers, enforce it through supply chains and investment criteria.

Advertising could ultimately fall into that bracket.

Australian Joshua Lowcock, IPG Mediabrands Global Brand Safety Officer and UM Chief Digital  & Innovation Officer, has been one of the key drivers of the initiative.

“This is how you change the behaviour of platforms," Lowcock recently told Mi3. "Because if it becomes something that is embedded culturally within a brand, it is no longer the theme of the week, it is intrinsic to the culture."

While the index aims to highlight where the platforms are failing their responsibilities and help them plot a path to improvement, it ultimately has teeth, should platforms fail to demonstrate meaningful actions.

According to Lowcock: “We will track platform performance and we will review our investment accordingly against those milestones.”

The index will now be published every six months.


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