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ASCI sets up AI-based tracking system to monitor ads for misleading content

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Tuesday said the regulator has set up a digital tracking system and is using Artificial Intelligence-based monitoring system to monitor advertisements for misleading content in a digital-first world.

ASCI while releasing its Annual Complaints Report for FY 2021-22 said, sectors such as education, healthcare and personal care were found as the top three violative categories, in the digital space.

Ads are increasingly being served and consumed on personal screens, making it difficult for regulators to truly understand the scale and impact, ASCI said, adding that “the volume of advertising creative units has exploded, and it is estimated that an average person is exposed to 6,000-10,000 ads per day.”

Now the digital ecosystem has taken centre stage with crypto and gaming emerging in the top five violative categories in FY22.

“There is a lot of action around digital. We are using our AI-based monitoring systems. It has been a very digital focus year for us,” said ASCI CEO & Secretary General Manisha Kapoor while addressing a virtual media round table.

“Digital media came into sharp focus,” said ASCI adding it has made “significant investments in digital monitoring — be it the 3,000 websites we monitored, or the AI-enabled identification of disguised ads we undertook”.

Financial year 2021-22, marks a new era of digital-focused guidelines, monitoring and compliance, even as it keeps an eye on TV and print.

In FY22, ASCI received 7,631 complaints and processed 5,532 advertisements across mediums including print, digital, and television. “With a sharp focus on the digital domain, ASCI saw an overall compliance rate of 94 per cent,” it said.

Commenting on the annual report, ASCI Chairman Subhash Kamath said in 2021-22 the ad regulator followed through its promise of increasingly monitoring the digital media given the way it has been dominating the advertising landscape.

“We invested heavily in technology and that has worked quite well. We also upgraded our complaints system which has made it very easy for consumers to register their complaints and for advertisers to respond to it.

“Going ahead, we will continue to be at the forefront in understanding how best to regulate and monitor the digital frontier, even as we keep streamlining our processes to become more responsive, and more proactive, he said.

In FY 22, around 75 per cent of complaints were taken suo-motto by the regulator and 21 per cent from the consumer, while the rest were intra-industry complaints and from the government.

“In 2021-22, ASCI processed a whopping 62 per cent more ads compared to the previous year, and 25 per cent more complaints,” it added.

Out of the 5,532 complaints process “94 per cent of ads needed changes”.

Moreover, 48 per cent of the objectionable ads were put on digital media, followed by print with 47 per cent and 3 per cent on TV and the rest 2 per cent on others.

In digital space, 43 per cent of the objectionable ads were on Instagram, 28 per cent on Youtube, 18 per cent on the website, 6 per cent on Twitter and the rest 3 per cent on Facebook.

Overall, the education sector led with the tag of the most complained category with 33 per cent followed by healthcare with 16 per cent.

Moreover, the report also points to a 41 per cent rise in complaints of advertisements featuring celebrities processed as compared to the previous year

“Complaints regarding misleading claims in ads featuring celebrities saw a 41 per cent increase out of which a staggering 92 per cent were found to be violating ASCI’s guidelines,” it said. PTI

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