Brand safety firm’s error cost Elon Musk’s X advertisers due to incorrect rating

Brand safety firm’s error cost Elon Musk’s X advertisers due to incorrect rating

X, Elon Musk’s social media platform, has revealed that dozens of major brands declined to advertise on the platform due to a poor rating from DoubleVerify, a third-party “brand safety” firm. DoubleVerify has since acknowledged that it made a mistake in its rating of X.

According to DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zegorski, the company discovered a graphical error in the display of X’s Brand Safety Rate on its Pinnacle dashboard, resulting in an incorrect, lower rate being shown for over four and a half months, Variety reported.

Zegorski stated that based on DoubleVerify’s metrics, X’s Brand Safety Rate across all measured campaigns exceeded 99.99%, and the company took full responsibility for the error and apologized for any conclusions drawn from it.

Joe Benarroch, X’s head of business operations, told the Daily Wire that the misrepresentation has caused “incalculable damage” to their business, with companies such as Campbell’s and ConAgra hesitating to advertise on the platform following the poor rating displayed for a Molson Coors X campaign.

Benarroch also noted that advertisers freely did business with the platform when it was known as Twitter and run by a politically liberal CEO but cited “brand safety” concerns since Musk’s acquisition, despite the implementation of brand safety capabilities and partnerships post-acquisition.

However, Campbell’s spokesman James F. Regan denied this claim when asked by the publication, stating that the decision not to advertise on X since 2020 was tied to consumer behavior and performance.

DoubleVerify, a publicly-traded company with significant revenue, has aligned its product functionality with the Brand Safety Floor and Brand Suitability Framework advanced by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). Critics argue that third-party firms like DoubleVerify act as partisan activist groups, potentially threatening companies with boycotts if they advertise on channels deemed unsuitable, such as Fox News.

The company openly displays its political sensibilities, focusing on initiatives such as “Breaking the Bias in Ad Tech” and “Bringing Pronouns to the Workplace.”

The House Judiciary Committee is currently investigating whether GARM violated anti-trust laws, with evidence suggesting that the group targeted news outlets based on their political leanings rather than solely focusing on “safety” and “misinformation.”

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