Monday, 25 September, 2017

United Kingdom government and media pull ads from YouTube over extremist videos

Google summoned to appear before the UK government to explain why ads keep appearing next to extremist YouTube videos Taxpayers funded extremists through online advertising
Edmund Wade | 18 March, 2017, 01:06

Google, a U.S. internet search giant, admitted it did not always manage to protect users and advertisers from inappropriate content, as cited by The Guardian, but vowed to do better by improving brand controls.

The Times found that these advertisements resulted in payouts for extremist YouTube creators, including American white nationalist David Duke and Holocaust-denying fundamentalist pastor Steven Anderson, who praised the killing of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub terror attack.

According to a report in The Guardian, the French advertising giant's decision came after talks broke down related to Google's inability to "provide specific reassurances" related to where video and display ads appear.

Analysis by The Times showed that blacklists which are created to prevent digital adverts from popping up next to extremist content, are not working.

A United Kingdom government spokesman told the Guardian that the government had put a hold on any advertising with Google or YouTube, and that a Google representative had been "summoned for discussions" to explain the situation and its proposed remedy.

Google has vowed to give brands and advertisers more tools to help prevent their ads from appearing against controversial content on YouTube.

Google could face an embarrassing number of refund requests, which it is understood will be issued in the form of credits to advertisers if the company made an error placing an ad and concluded that the material was sufficiently offensive to terminate the account of the publisher. "However, with millions of sites in our network and 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, we recognize that we don't always get it right", he said.

"Multimillion-dollar social media companies with ample funds are simply not investing almost enough in taking proactive action to stop extremist content from appearing and to stop it being monetised", he said."Profit comes first for these people, " he added.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said: "It is wrong that these social media companies should make billions of dollars out of running their platforms but don't make the necessary investments to properly police them". In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetization policies.

The managing director of Google's United Kingdom team, Ronan Harris, addressed the situation in a blog post, saying the company recognizes the necessity of "strict policies" that dictate where Google ads appear. The British newspaper was not alone - broadcaster Channel 4, and even the British government soon followed suit.

Fearful of losing out on advertising revenue - the company's lifeblood - Google is undertaking a review of the policies it has in place and investigating ways that things can be improved.

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