The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), an alliance of advertisers, media companies, and Big Tech, have decided to find a mutual definition of “hate speech”. Social media companies have been under heavy criticism from politicians and legacy media outlets over their hate speech policies in recent times and GARM hopes that a mutual definition of hate speech across the industry will help address the supposed issue of moderation.
GARM was created in 2019 during the Cannes Lions Festival to help members with brand safety. Members include Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, legacy media companies such as NBC, and big advertisers such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble.
Advertising associations such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers, and executives from ad agencies are also part of the alliance.
Over the past few months, GARM has been collaborating with big advertisers to create standards that address brand safety. They say an ad appearing next to harmful content compromises brand safety.
According to Axios, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, alerted advertisers of GARM plans through a note. Everson told advertisers that the alliance had identified areas that need immediate action, such as definitions of harmful content.
GARM has arrived at 11 standard definitions of harmful content, which focus on “hate speech” and acts of aggression. The alliance plans to “align on those definitions” in August.
Everson also told advertisers that Facebook would soon be providing an update on how it ensures ads do not appear next to harmful content.
GARM, which is a member of the World Federation of Advertisers, holds a lot of meetings to discuss issues in the world of advertising. What the alliance recommends are not rules that all members should follow. The recommendations are simply standards the industry should consider to tackle various challenges.
Additionally, social media platforms still maintain the right to moderate hate speech in whatever way they see fit. However, most of them seem committed to GARM.
A Twitter rep said that it “is an active GARM member, supports the movement towards industry standards and frameworks for content monetization, and is committed to ongoing work with industry leaders to find solutions to promote healthy public conversation.”
YouTube said it “remains committed to working with GARM and the industry to identify and treat harmful content in a consistent way in order to build a more sustainable and healthy, digital ecosystem for everyone.” However, as the spokesperson noted, it still has the right to implement its own unique hate speech policies, and can, in some cases, define hate speech more broadly.