Digital Advertising Alliance wants everyone to know who’s behind the curtain

A Little Wigged Out

The 2016 election and the attendant allegations of foreign interference in the electoral process have ramped up scrutiny on digital political advertising. Facebook, Google and other companies that define the ad-centric profit model are sweltering under a public magnifying glass, and the ad industry at large is scrambling to provide some sort of tether between ads and the companies that inject them into the media.

Parallels

Problems we’ve covered before about the dangers and pitfalls of commercial online advertising tend to find their parallels in digital political advertising as well: Who is the ultimate source of the ad? How does the advertising affect my privacy or my security? How cleanly are the lines drawn between ads and content, and how are the teams behind both halves related to each other? The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) is taking steps to address some of these questions through its new transparency and accountability initiative aimed specifically at political advertising.

The Takeaway

Some features of the new program include a new “PoliticalAd” icon to be embedded in the ad itself, serving as “an immediate, simple, and intuitive tool for people to get information on the political ads covered by the new guidelines.” The icon will link to crucial information about the advertiser, including contact information and contribution records, with additional information customized to relevant federal and state laws. The icon is based on the DAA’s “YourAdChoices” program. A full statement of principles for the new program can be found here; the new approach will be enforced by the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and the Data & Marketing Association.