4A’s APB Media Responsibility Principles

In order to promote a more diverse and equitable media ecosystem, the 4A’s Advertiser Protection Bureau presents the following Media Responsibility Principles. The Principles are designed to, among other things, encourage the dissemination of factual, accurate information and to combat the spread of misinformation and hate speech. Advertisers and agencies are encouraged to support publishers that act responsibly in terms of diversity, transparency and accountability, and to withdraw support from publishers that behave irresponsibly or in opposition to applicable laws and industry standards. The Principles consist of ten key elements.

It is our hope that adherence to these Principles will result in a fairer and more transparent environment for advertisers and publishers alike.

Please reach out to the Media, Tech and Data team at [email protected] with any questions.


Seek out media partners that foster balanced, constructive discourse and respectful civil commentary. Avoid and eliminate working with media partners or platforms that create hostile environments. This includes holding partners accountable if individuals, content or programming consistently confronts an individual or group of individuals based on their creed, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.


Prioritize partners that protect people from harm. This includes requiring partners to take active steps to prevent predatory behavior against an individual or group of individuals, including requiring partners to flag, limit, prevent or remove content that would mislead people as to their rights, how to access public services, or public health concerns. Media partners should also maintain safe & civilised workplaces where employment is freely chosen with no toleration for sexual harassment, discrimination, or offensive behavior of any kind.


Media partners need to demonstrate that they celebrate all forms of diversity, including all genders, multicultural backgrounds, ages, sexual orientations, people with disabilities, all socio-economic groups, and faiths. That when advertising is delivered, there is conscious effort made to ensure that the ads are delivered against an audience that is representative of the diversity in the population and non-discriminatory.  Multi-cultural/BIPOC ownership must also be represented in good faith. Partners should select and promote their people on the basis of their qualifications and merit without discrimination or concern for race, religion, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or disability.


That media partners and advertisers collect, use and store  data in ways that are ethical, accountable and transparent. That data is collected and used in a way that complies with all applicable regulations and industry guidelines. That rules and safeguards exist so that data is not used in advertising in a way that would intentionally or inadvertently discriminate against an individual or group of individuals or their ability to access employment, housing, credit or other products and services.


Media partners and advertisers have a shared responsibility to ensure that both regulatory and industry codes guidelines are consistently applied for protecting the welfare of children. That partners are required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate controls in place to protect children and, as necessary, age gate the delivery of advertising where necessary. Child labor is not to be used.


Brands should not fund hate speech or extremist content. Avoid advertising with media outlets that fuel hatred on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, migration status, sexuality, gender or gender identity, disability or any other group characteristic. This includes not advertising on content, services, or platforms where there is not a good-faith effort to remove or prevent speech that attempts to dehumanize a person or group of people or that promotes or features content that would incite violence or discrimination.


That media investment will be directed to partners that ensure people receive quality, factual information that enables them to make well-informed decisions and not fund partners or content that spread misinformation, support its spread by community members, or, through inaction, allow misinformation to be spread. Misinformation/disinformation is defined as the presentation of false or misleading claims, where the claims are likely to cause societal harm.  Advertising should not fund the distribution of misinformation or disinformation directly or indirectly. Platforms where the spread of misinformation by community members is a concern will fact check information published by high-profile and/or high reach accounts including using reputable partners and/or frequently audited methodologies in a timely manner (hours or days, with a focus on constant improvement); ensure that factual information from reputable sources is published alongside false claims from said accounts; and put systems in place to rapidly stop amplification of false information, especially as reach and momentum of such misinformation grows, even if the initial source is not high-reach. Large “private” communities are explicitly not excepted. Priority areas for improvement include Voting/Elections/Census, Environment, Conspiracies, Racism and Health information. 


That any media partner rapidly and consistently apply their own terms of use policy. That partners in a common category or vertical align on a common policy standard that outlines the expectations of those on the platforms, whether they be end-users, creators, or hosts, and that the policies be transparently enforced regardless of role, title, position, or office.


That there be supply chain transparency so that advertisers know when and where they are advertising, and manage the distance in space and time from brand-unsuitable content, so that advertisers can make informed decisions that will enable compliance with these overarching principles.


That each party in the advertising supply chain, Advertisers, Agencies, and Publishers/Platforms will hold themselves individually accountable for adhering to these principles, and enable transparency measures as and when needed to establish and maintain clarity and trust. That we collectively recognize that revenue from advertising is a privilege and not a right, and that there must be an open and honest dialogue with partners who fail to be accountable to these principles.