Media Rating Council Gives Facebook Accreditation for Ad Impressions

Including on Instagram, following yearlong audit

During an NAB presentation Facebook 's News Partnerships team explains how publishers should work with algorithm changes.
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After a yearlong audit, the Media Rating Council has given Facebook accreditation of its ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram.

Today, MRC released the results of the audits from January through March for impressions served in Facebook’s news feed on desktop, mobile web and mobile app environments. MRC also awarded accreditation for Instagram ad impressions across the same environments.

“We recognize the industry’s desire for more independent third-party validation, so this is welcome progress,” Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s vp of marketing science, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our verification work with the MRC.”

While the news is arguably a bright spot in a dark month for Facebook, some see the accreditation as mere table stakes. MRC’s first accreditation today is about whether an ad’s been served, rather than more meaningful metrics such as viewability or invalid metrics.

The results come after a year of scrutiny, with some advertisers expressing concern over whether their ads had been properly displayed on the platform. It also comes just a week before CEO Mark Zuckerberg will travel to Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress about the company’s privacy policies.

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it’s making several changes to the way third-party apps receive access to its Groups, Events and Pages APIs. The adjustments are in response to the company’s ongoing efforts to regain trust after it revealed Cambridge Analytica may have improperly accessed the personal data of as many as 87 million users.

On a call with journalists Wednesday, Zuckerberg answered the question of whether Facebook should care less about making money off of targeted ads and more about consumer privacy, saying that the way to make ads “good” is by people sharing information about their interests with the platform. About 95 percent of users say they’re OK with sharing information if it leads to better ads, he added.

“So, like most of the hard decisions that we make, this is one where there’s a trade-off between values that people really care about,” he said. “On the one hand, people want relevant experiences, and on the other hand, I do think that there is some discomfort [surrounding] how data is used in systems like ads. But I think the feedback is overwhelming on the side of wanting a better experience.”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.