YouTube ran ads from major brands on hate channels

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 20, 2018

YouTube ads from over 300 companies and organizations - including government agencies - run on channels promoting issues shockingly out of the mainstream, like Nazis, white nationalists, pedophilia, conspiracy theories, and North Korea propaganda, CNN reported.

Other companies whose ads reportedly appeared on extremist content include Cisco, Hershey, Hilton, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Netflix, Nordstrom and Under Armour. In fact, taxpayer dollars may have gone into financing these channels as well because ads from U.S. government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Transportation, Veterans Affairs, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Customs and Border Protection, have been found on the channels as well.

Numerous companies said they were unaware their ads had been placed on these channels. An co-branded ad from Disney and Nissan also ran on the channel.

According to CNN, YouTube channels with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months can apply to make money from ads. Companies can target their ads based on demographics and viewers' behavior and trust YouTube to decide which type of content is inappropriate for their ads.

When an advertiser places a buy on YouTube, its message is inserted into the site's content, sometimes playing before the start of a video.

A spokeswoman for YouTube told CNN that the company has worked with advertisers to implement better controls, stricter policies, and greater transparency when it comes to ad placement.

"When we find that ads mistakenly ran against content that doesn't comply with our policies, we immediately remove those ads", she added. 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".

It's not the first time the streaming company has come under fire for running ads on controversial videos. Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Network pulled ads from YouTube after they appeared on the channel belonging to right-wing commentator Alex Jones, who is known for spreading conspiracy theories. It also said it would review all its most popular videos.

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