Editors' pick: Originally published Feb. 13.
Facebook has agreed to be audited by the Media Rating Council, an accreditation service used by advertisers and publishers to make sure their ads are being properly measured, the company said in a blog post on Friday.
The move comes after Facebook acknowledged on three separate occasions in recent months that it had been miscalculating advertising data. The company last December disclosed that it had been counting likes and shares for posts incorrectly, after noting in November that it had miscalculated how many times users viewed videos on the site from start to finish. Last September, Facebook said it had inadvertently inflated its video view metrics.
Advertising firms have become increasingly critical of tech and media companies for failing to provide sufficient advertising data and are now calling for them to make changes.
Last month, Procter & Gamble's (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said digital media companies need to "grow up" and take steps to clean up the "crappy advertising" experience at an advertising industry conference.
The consumer goods company and country's largest advertiser also issued digital media companies an ultimatum, saying that the company will no longer pay for any advertising contracts that don't align with P&G's standards.
Until now, ad sellers have been able to guard campaign, inventory and audience data information from advertisers, creating a sense of "cautious trust" between the two parties, said Tim Mahlman, president of AOL Platforms, the internet company's ad tech unit, in a statement.
"But this is finally changing. Advertisers are rightfully demanding more transparency to improve decision-making," Mahlman added. "Advertisers want flexibility, control and transparency, and those who disregard that will lose."
Additionally, the World Federation of Advertisers, a trade association that represents advertising companies, said nearly 90% of global brands are reviewing and resetting their advertising contracts in an effort to improve transparency.
Facebook remains one of the top digital advertising platforms, capturing 38% of all digital ad revenue growth in the U.S. -- second to Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google unit, according to a study from Digital Content Next.
In Facebook's latest earnings, advertising revenue grew 53% year-over-year to $8.63 billion, most of which came from mobile ad spending.
Last October, Google came under fire from the Media Rating Council when the organization suspended two of the internet company's mobile and desktop display ad measurements over non-compliance issues.
Facebook said in the blog post that it also plans to expand its third-party verification program, which works with measurement companies like Nielsen and comScore to provide more accurate measurement figures to its 4 million advertisers.
"We want to provide transparency, choice and accountability," Facebook said in the blog post.
But an outside audit "always" had to be a part of the solution to its metric reporting missteps, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, in an email.
"[Facebook] had to regain credibility with content providers and markets...," Dawson said. "It probably isn't enough by itself, but we've seen what was a steady stream of announcements about botched measurements late last year dry up, which is a sign that Facebook thinks it's fixed the big issues."
Shares of Facebook closed down 0.1% to $134.05 on Monday. They are up 16.5% so far this year.