Only on YouTube: A Nazi Screed Preceded by an Ad for Underwear

Daniel Fowler
April 21, 2018

A year ago many major companies pulled their ads from the platform after learning that they were appearing alongside videos promoting ISIS and other terrorist groups. YouTube, which is owned by Google, often tries to match the advertiser's message with the tone of the video, but sometimes the ads are placed at random. "We now feel the right measures are in place for P&G brands to have the option to advertise on YouTube".

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

CNN said ads from more than 300 companies, including Adidas, Amazon, Facebook, Cisco, Hershey, Hilton, Nordstrom and Netflix, as well as newspapers and government agencies, appeared on channels that promoted white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda. CNN found that ads from five United States government agencies, including the Department of Transportation and Centers for Disease Control, appeared on the channels promoting such content.

One of those advertisers, Under Armour, said it would pull its ads from YouTube in response.

This is not the first time companies have found their ads placed on extremist content. 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. The company explained how it was using machine learning technology to help remove such content from the site. According to the new rules, a channel has to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of watch time during the last 12 months before it can carry ads.

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P&G pulled back from the platform past year over brand safety concerns.

What's important to note: P&G is giving the OK for brands to spend only on fewer than 10,000 "white-listed" channels that YouTube has cleared as safe for brand advertising.

"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.

"Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, does not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society", said Weed at IAB's annual leadership event.

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