Changing state of brand safety on social media platforms

brand safety

Brand safety on social media has always been a concern in the age where a contextual difference leads to the brand being boycotted. Industry leaders share what can help.

The former President of United States Donald Trump’s Twitter account was recently reinstated after the majority on a public poll on Musk’s handle voted in the favor of it.

His account’s reinstatement on Twitter is posing a serious threat to brand safety on Twitter and several advertisers are concerned, according to multiple reports. Public opinions have also been against the decision.

Although, currently, Trump’s reinstatement is not the only problem to brand safety on Twitter (or rather on most social networks). As the microblogging site has always been used for everything from sharing opinions to protesting a wrongful regime, it consequently hosts a substantial chunk of controversial or sensitive content. A campaign appearing next to any of such Tweets can easily appear to be capitalizing on a sensitive issue, or just plainly be perceived in the wrong environment.

In spite of comprehensive measures in place, the safety and security of consumers and subsequently brands on social media platforms, has been a major concern for a long time now. In 2020, 0ver 90 brands including Coca-Cola, Verizon, Starbucks, Unilever, Diageo, Verizon, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer, and Ben & Jerry’s announced a boycott of advertising on Facebook, and more social media platforms to push them to take concrete steps to stop misinformation and hate speech in these virtual spaces.

The #StopHateforProfit campaign was organized and led by civil rights groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Anti-Defamation League. Few brands joined the efforts directly, others paused advertising without directly supporting the campaign. We also saw several celebrities supporting the campaign through their own social handles.

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Expert Insights

As social media advertising continues to be an integral part of the media plan, more so after the pandemic, and brands need to take substantial efforts on their own, here Industry experts outline their thoughts and tips to counter the grave issue.

Prashant Singh, Country Manager – India, RTB House, points outs that we may be able to protect an ad campaign or the brand from certain keywords, but not from its synonyms or a similar context. He states that deep-learning models are a reliable MarTech tool for this common concern.

“Deep learning comes into practice because it has its own neural network which analyzes the given input and also learns from the action items and then creates its own solution”.

He adds, “This is the only scalable and sophisticated solution and an artificial intelligence solution like deep learning is required. Recently, since the Twitter and Elon Musk fiasco, a lot of talks about how bots are harmful to the advertising ecosystem have also been highlighted. But technology has helped automate the communication and, channel a more positive side of the ecosystem, which also includes customer support”.

Sharing brand safety practices at Glance, which delivers personalized content and ads to the lock screens of smartphones, Vasuta Agarwal,  SVP & GM – Consumer Platform Advertising, InMobi states that the extremely rigorous in-house content curation and creation process, with each content piece, including all brand content and ads, going through various levels of completely manual checks and moderation is how they were able to achieve brand safety.

She adds that the displayed content is curated using AI-led tools and supported by human moderation & approval. “Before any visual gets served to users, it is evaluated based on robust content policies”. She also points out that full-screen visuals without any overlapping content, also help create a safe advertising environment.

Zero-tolerance policy for hate speech, mature content, violent or disturbing imagery, profanity, or content that might cause political or regional provocations can also be impactful for every brand.

Anika Wadhera, Head of Marketing, Sirona Hygiene states, “For brands, everything may seem okay on the drawing board, but once it’s up on social media- it is subject to millions of interpretations. “We try to ensure that our campaigns are deeply rooted with meaning and purpose”.

She further shares that the team of experienced marketing professionals full of insight and connection to the desires of the audience base helps the brand in taking democratic, informed, and sensitive decisions when communicating with our audience. “We are also receptive to feedback if a mistake has been made. We take mistakes as an opportunity to learn, understand what went wrong, and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”


A wordsmith by profession who likes art, Beatles, Coffee, DiCaprio and Eminem brings a fresh perspective contrary to existing perceptions and believes in questioning everything, also has a belief that there should be a bigger place in the world for words and not war. He prefers the phenomena of the physical world of plants and animals(especially dogs) over possessions. Reckons moving to the rhythm and moving on.