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ASA works with Amazon, Google, Meta, TikTok and Twitter to pilot a new online transparency role

The Advertising Standards Authority and some of the biggest tech companies have announced the launch of a pilot scheme to look at extending the ASA’s role online.

Called “Intermediary and Platform Principles,” the pilot will run for a year from June. It will look at bringing more accountability and transparency to companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, TikTok and Twitter, in what looks like a bid to keep them all within the ASA’s self-regulatory framework.

The initiative pilots a set of principles covering how tech companies work with their own advertisers to raise awareness of the rules that apply to their ads online. It is also designed to help the ASA secure compliance in cases when an advertiser appears unwilling or is unable to comply with the rules.

Participating companies will voluntarily agree to provide information to the ASA to demonstrate how they operate in accordance with its principles. The ASA will report on how companies have performed against the principles, identifying examples of good practice, and areas with room for improvement.

The information will be used to look at gaps in the ASA’s ability to enforce its code online, and how this can effectively be addressed.

Guy Parker, CEO of the ASA said: “The role that leading digital companies play to uphold advertising standards online and help deliver better outcomes for the public is not well-known or understood.  This pilot brings more accountability and transparency to this area of our work and serves as an important contribution to future policy thinking in this area”.

Jon Mew, CEO of IAB UK added: “Creating more transparency and accountability within digital advertising is in all of our best interests and it’s really positive to see our members proactively volunteering to be part of the pilot and demonstrate their commitment to the regulatory system. It’s no secret that the most effective regulatory measures are developed with the co-operation and input of the industry, and based on robust evidence, and we believe that this pilot will set an example of how that can best be achieved.”

Given the continued refusal of influencers to step into line with ASA guidelines, this is an ambitious effort.

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