Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Joshua Lowcock, chief digital and global brand safety officer at UM Worldwide.

The unprecedented public health challenge of the coronavirus is also uncovering the challenges facing the ad tech industry around how to protect the public by combating the spread of misinformation. As with the virus itself, it’s critical that the industry practices good hygiene and acts responsibly to protect society.

As with every major crisis, the public turns to news for information. News organizations are working overtime to provide extended coverage and, in some instances, dropping their paywalls. Free access to reliable information is paramount during this time, so people can make informed decisions.

The challenge with coronavirus is that for some advertisers, it is triggering brand-safety concerns. This is because its coverage includes hot-button keywords such as “illness” and “death,” both of which are typically found in keyword blacklists. But there’s something different that makes this issue even more problematic: the uniqueness of the words, “coronavirus” and “COVID-19.

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