Study finds mainstream ads on 'extremist' YouTube videos

YouTube

Under Armour and Nissan have already suspended all YouTube advertising as a result of the investigation.

Ads from the New York Times and the Washington Post also appear on extreme right conspiracy channels like Black Pigeon Speaks and others run by Alex Jones' InfoWars.

Ads for major corporations that are household names are routinely shown on YouTube videos identified as "extremist content", according to a CNN investigation.

Ads from five US government agencies, including the Department of Transportation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also appeared on the channels, implying that tax payer money could have funded harmful content on the tech titan's global video platform. Harmful, extremist content can stay on YouTube until a complaint is acted on.

Numerous companies said they were unaware their ads had been placed on these channels. When companies advertise with YouTube, they can target their ads based on user behavior and demographics.

"When we find that ads mistakenly ran against content that doesn't comply with our policies, we immediately remove those ads", a YouTube spokesperson said. We know that even when videos meet our advertiser-friendly guidelines, not all videos will be appropriate for all brands.


YouTube said it wants to work with advertisers to control inappropriate content, but it did not address how the latest issues occurred.

"YouTube's enormous scale and relatively low entry point in terms of pricing enabled advertisers to look the other way", says Dunaway.

The platform vowed to fix the problem a year ago, hiring a small army of content reviewers to better police its content. YouTube told Bloomberg that "We appreciate the partnership with P&G and look forward to continue working with them". In a case of bad timing, Procter & Gamble, which fled the platform a year ago, announced earlier this week that it was resuming its advertising on YouTube.

"Just two days ago, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published a letter to creators on the YouTube Creator Blog, claiming the stricter guidelines it released this year, "... strengthened advertiser confidence, making monetization and the broader community on YouTube stronger for creators building their business on the platform".

P&G added that the report from CNN would not impact its decision. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from NY to Texas.

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