elon musk raises awareness of twitter’s lack of transparency on ad audits

In a response to a recent tweet, Elon Musk highlighted Twitter’s avoidance of sharing how it verifies ads on the platform.  Who does the audits? Where are the audits? These questions were brought up by Andrea Stroppa who noted that the only information about these audits can be found on a Twitter blog post titled, “Expanding our commitment to brand safety.”

Those are the questions that Twitter is doing everything possible to avoid answering …

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2022

Andrea’s response was part of a short thread that began with a report from Reuters. Elon Musk’s attorneys have subpoenaed Integral Ad Science and Double Verify, two ad tech firms cited in the above-mentioned Twitter blog post.

What Elon Musk and his legal team want from the two firms are any documents or communications of their involvment in reviewing accounts or participating in any audit of Twitter’s user base. Both firms use technology to independently verify whether or not digital ads are viewed by real people.

In his response to Andrea’s questions, Elon Musk said that Twitter is doing everything possible to avoid answering those questions. In another tweet, Andrea noted that there are many audits in the auto industry and that consumers can download a detailed report of the trials and results. Although Twitter generates billions of dollars by selling advertising and thanks the two ad companies, Andrea isn’t sure what these companies actually do.

Twitter and Elon Musk are currently suing one another, with spam, bots, fake accounts, and fraud being front and center.

One interesting thing to take note of is a study published by Integral Ad Science, one of the firms subpoenaed. Its 16th Edition Media Quality Report was released in March 2022 and one interesting fact the study found was that global ad fraud rates rose “across all formats and environments” in the second half of 2021. Singapore held the highest level of global desktop display ad fraud rates with 4.1%.

Germany and Australia had the highest rise in invalid traffic targeting desktop video campaigns and these “propelled the optimized-against-ad fraud rate to nearly 3% in both markets.”

Teslarati reached out to Integral Ad Science and Double Verify for comments. So far, they haven’t responded, but if they do, we’ll update the article.

Disclaimer: Johnna is long Tesla. 

Your feedback is important. If you have any comments, concerns, or see a typo, you can email me at johnna@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @JohnnaCrider1

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