What do you get when you combine the internet’s most-recognised viewability measurement system with one of the biggest content verification agencies? A new framework for fighting profiteering fake news merchants.

Moat and News Corp’s Storyful have partnered to form the Open Brand Safety (OBS) initiative, an open-source effort to track web domains and video URLs identified as purveyors of intentional misinformation with the aim of protecting brand content.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Storyful CEO Rahul Chopra says 10 brands and agencies have shown interest in using OBS in the last three weeks, with Group M and Weber Shandwick on from the start.

The system will provide a means for ad buyers to see fake news and extreme content sites, then pass it to their buying systems to swerve around.

“You will be able to see all domains identified and that have been validated by us and CUNY (School of Journalism), and (we will) give ad-tech firms and agencies an API to ensure that they’re handling off to their partners, so that none of their ads run in front of this content,” Chopra says.

Over the last couple of years, a growing number of malicious sites have cropped up, publishing news content known to be biased or untrue, in pursuit of ad spend placed automatically against the content.

Advertisers are under pressure to withhold their spending from these sites, as well as from extremist user-generated videos posted to video-hosting platforms. Connecting the two is a creeping industry worry that buyers have insufficient control over where programmatic platforms end up placing their ads.

But Chopra says he wants to “choke off how these sites are popping up” – and he says he sees OBS as a CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative.

OBS will leverage a team at CUNY’s journalism school, working with academic and non-profit partners used to fact-checking and studying extremist material, to help develop the blacklist.

This segment is part of the Beet.TV lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 2017. The series is presented by Storyful.   For more from the series, please visit this page.