As the election draws near and the political season hits its apex, we want to clarify our position on political advertising. This topic has become a hot button issue for our industry.
TripleLift accepts political ads from major party candidates at both the national and state levels of government. In our business, we can either accept ads from all major parties or choose not to accept ads from all major parties. We cannot ethically refuse ads from a legitimate party just because we don’t agree with their platform or politics. If we did, we would become ultimate arbiters of truth or policy in the name of democracy and we cannot, in good faith, take on that role.
We have put practices in place to govern our actions. Those practices are as follows:
Limit PAC Spending. We will closely monitor advertisers known as Political Action Committees. PACs were given great latitude by the U.S. Supreme Court case known as Citizens United to spend large sums of money in support of candidates and causes. No company is under obligation to accept that advertising. We will apply our own judgement and accept and reject PAC money as we see fit. If we believe any particular PAC advertising promotes hate speech or misinformation, we will apply a human lens to reject or remove that advertiser from our platform.
Encourage Publisher Tools. We provide tools to our publishers for them to make decisions on the advertising they wish to accept — political or otherwise. We have recently sent a communication to all of our publishers, reinforcing the existence of these tools and educating them on how to apply their own filters of acceptability.
Monitor our Platform. Our ad building process is driven by technology. That technology enables us to ensure that major elements of ad units fit seamlessly into their environments. However, when it comes to copy points, our ability to monitor and act on content we deem inappropriate is manual. We do have policies and will remain faithful to them. But our challenge is similar to that facing other major platforms like Facebook (for example) — applying human oversight to large-scale, technology-built activities requires vigilance. We will be alert during this campaign season and will react proactively and reactively where we see issues arise.
Root Out Misinformation Sites. While tangentially related to political ad spending, TripleLift forged a partnership earlier this year with NewsGuard, the company that fights misinformation by rating and reviewing thousands of news and information websites for credibility and transparency. We have already removed about two dozen sites from our roster that do not meet acceptable levels of credibility. We did this to ensure we do not monetize misinformation or hate speech, which is bad business, inconsistent with our company values, and in conflict with how our advertisers want to spend their dollars.
Learn more about how we’re approaching political advertising in this cycle.