Disinformation, misinformation and inflammatory news are critical problems in today’s digital media landscape. The deliberate creation and sharing of false or manipulated information is intended to deceive and mislead audiences, either for the purposes of causing harm or for political, personal and financial gain.

This deceiving content can originate from any number of sources and even look as though reliable news outlets produce it. The popularity of these stories is often exacerbated when spread via social media channels – despite the platforms’ efforts to identify and remove them.

Studies show that a quarter of a billion dollars goes toward the funding of disinformation websites each year. This number is likely to continue growing as fast-evolving news cycles create opportunities for bad actors to spread mis/disinformation and inflammatory news.


Why Should Brands Care?

Advertising on dubious content not only helps fund mis/disinformation and inflammatory news, it hurts brands. More than half of consumers say they would stop using a brand that appeared beside false or misleading news. Conversely, 67% of consumers are more likely to look at an ad that runs on a trusted news site.

Trust-building is a key component of customer favorability, retention and overall value.  According to a Magna Global study, having a presence in reliable news sources drives better ad effectiveness. So how can brands and advertisers work to build trust with consumers?


Preventing Ads from Aligning with Inflammatory News

DoubleVerify (DV) analyzes billions of impressions a day to help keep brands safe from appearing alongside unsafe and unsuitable content. Publishers promoting misleading or incendiary content are classified into DV’s Inflammatory Politics and News (IPN) category. By selecting this category for monitoring and blocking purposes, advertisers are able to protect their brand reputation and ensure their ad dollars do not inadvertently fund these types of actors.


What Is Considered Inflammatory Politics and News?

As with all of our brand safety categories, the IPN category is based on a clearly defined policy that sets out which types of content should be classified under the category. DV’s policy stipulates that content containing any of the following features should be classified as IPN:

  • Disinformation: The communication of unreliable or unsubstantiated information on issues of political or societal importance, with the deliberate intent to mislead or confuse.
  • Misinformation: The communication of unreliable or unsubstantiated information on issues of political or societal importance.
  • Inflammatory Political Rhetoric: The use of coded language, blatant opinion statements in non-editorial content, extreme/exaggerated claims, incitement to political violence, and the use of slurs when referring to public figures.

DV has helped clients prevent hundreds of millions of potentially brand-damaging impressions on IPN content. Importantly, this also serves to disrupt the economic incentives for the production of “fake news” content.


How Is Content Categorized as IPN?

DV’s IPN category relies upon a combination of DV’s subject matter experts and analysis tools, with scalable AI solutions from Storyzy. Our integration with Storyzy allows us to offer enhanced protection to advertisers through global tracking of this content as it continues to evolve and proliferate.

The IPN review process is a multi-prong approach to continuously identifying sites that meet the definitions of the category in a quickly changing landscape where new domains emerge and/or die quickly. Every day, DV’s Brand Safety team reviews emerging stories that could be considered controversial and present a challenge to our clients. Covering more than ten languages and tapping into information from hundreds of trusted fact-checkers worldwide, the team provides instant human feedback on top of automatic classification. Through this process, the team tracks the appearance of new sites and the development of existing sites by analyzing relevant keywords, phrases and concepts, as well as following key figures and conversations in the disinformation space. This also includes a thorough review of social media activity, websites with keywords relevant to IPN, as well as sites identified by Storyzy.

For example, when an event such as the war in Ukraine or Covid-19 hits the news cycle, our content classification experts expand this daily analysis to review hundreds of articles, social posts and headlines, leveraging fact-checking resources to confirm when plausible narratives are misinformation, and whether specific locations, political figures, or state-affiliated actors should be added to the classification system. This ensures DV’s system provides coverage at scale with the fastest possible speed to protect our clients.


At the end of the day, we intend to make the digital advertising ecosystem stronger, safer and more secure. Download our guide for more information on how brands can safely navigate today’s evolving news cycle.