YouTube ads found on extremist content channels, reigniting company’s brand safety issues

YouTube ads found on extremist content channels, reigniting company’s brand safety issues

After spending more than a year convincing brands it was addressing its brand safety problems, YouTube is under fire again for showing ads alongside extremist content. Both Nissan and Under Amour said they were pausing their YouTube ads, and Hilton told CNN it was in the process of removing its ads from the site. CNN reports that Washington Post and New York Times ads were found on far-right conspiracy YouTube channels connected to InfoWars. According to CNN, YouTube has deleted one of the channels with extremist content that had ads running on it and removed the ability for a second channel to monetize its videos. But we are committed to working with our advertisers and getting this right. Within days, YouTube launched a massive effort to address its brand safety issues, announcing brand safety tools, new controls for advertisers and stricter guidelines around hate speech on the site. In January, YouTube rolled out stricter guidelines around which channels could be monetized. Advertisers demand action This latest report from CNN will no doubt reignite concerns from advertisers, who have to put a certain amount of trust in programmatic ad platforms that their ads are not showing up alongside offensive, extremist content. MarTech delivers vendor-agnostic insights and marketing, technology and management topics designed to help you succeed. About The Author Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media's General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land.

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After spending more than a year convincing brands it was addressing its brand safety problems, YouTube is under fire again for showing ads alongside extremist content.

An investigation by CNN discovered ads from multiple brands and government agencies showing up on YouTube channels dedicated to white nationalist, pro-Nazi and North Korean propaganda content.

A number of well-known brands were named in CNN’s report, including Adidas, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Hershey, Hilton, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Netflix, Nissan and Under Armour. Both Nissan and Under Amour said they were pausing their YouTube ads, and Hilton told CNN it was in the process of removing its ads from the site.

A Nissan spokesperson told CNN: “Effectively immediately, we are freezing all of our advertising on YouTube until we resolve this issue.”

Not only were ads from well-known brands placed against extremist content, but a number of US government agencies — the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Transportation, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Coast Guard Academy — had ads that ran on North Korean propaganda channels. CNN reports that Washington Post and New York Times ads were found on far-right conspiracy YouTube channels connected to InfoWars.

According to CNN, YouTube has deleted one of the channels with extremist content that had ads running on it and removed the ability for a second channel to monetize its videos.

A YouTube spokesperson sent the following comment to Marketing Land in reference to CNN’s investigation:

We have partnered with our advertisers to make significant changes to how we approach monetisation on YouTube with stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency. When we find that ads mistakenly ran against content that doesn’t comply with our policies, we immediately remove those ads. We know that even when videos meet our advertiser friendly guidelines, not all videos will be appropriate for all brands. But we are committed to working with our advertisers and getting this right.

A year’s worth of YouTube brand safety issues

YouTube advertisers determine where they want their ads to be placed based on user demographics and behavior, and they can blacklist or filter channels…

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