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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Dozens of the world's biggest advertising and content companies, including major tech firms, brands, ad agencies and industry groups, announced Tuesday their commitment to a newly-created alliance to take significant steps to improve digital safety.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and most comprehensive industry effort to date to tackle the ongoing brand safety crisis online. Competing groups are putting their differences aside to solve the problem quickly in the face of global regulatory threats.

"Because we don't know what the regulation is going to look like, we want to get out front and figure out how to solve the problem."
— John Montgomery, EVP of Brand Safety at GroupM

Details: The immediate focus of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media is to create a working group that will prioritize a set of concrete steps to begin creating a set of actions, processes and protocols for protecting people and brands from nefarious content online.

  • The launch members of the Alliance will meet for the first time Wednesday at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. The meeting will be hosted by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Board.
  • The group so far includes major advertisers like Adidas, Mastercard, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Shell, and Unilever, as well as publishers like NBCUniversal and Verizon.
  • It also includes Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter, and other tech platforms are close to signing on. GroupM, the ad buying arm of ad holding giant WPP is taking a lead role on the agency side, but says other ad holding groups will be committed to the effort. All of the major ad trade groups are in.

The big picture: The coordinated industry effort comes as lawmakers around the world debate potential regulations for the digital advertising and content industries.

Be smart: While talks of growing regulation make new laws and rules feel inevitable, the advertising and digital content industries have been particularly good at coming together to self-regulate when their industries face existential crises.

  • In 2009, several advertising several trade organizations created the Digital Advertising Alliance to develop self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising per the recommendation of the Federal Trade Commission, which had been looking into data privacy rules online.
  • In 2016, platforms raced to build sophisticated political advertising transparency tools, eventually beating lawmakers to regulating the problem before the Honest Ads Act won enough support in Congress.
  • Today, the alliance is being launched as the industry is faces threats of national privacy legislation that would threaten the data collection necessary to execute many digital ad transactions.

Between the lines: One of the goals of the Alliance would be to create cross-industry brand safety standards that Big Tech companies would use when evaluating content online.

  • This would unify tech companies in the decision-making process over what types of content remains on their platforms.

Our thought bubble: We've seen several times in recent weeks that different standards across platforms about what type of content is considered safe on the internet causes confusion and frustration among lawmakers, brands and consumers.

  • The standardization of content rules across the major platforms would be a major step forward for the industry, and could help resolve growing skepticism around platform bias.

Go deeper: Big Tech's shifting lobbying army

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.