Racist content prompts big exodus from YouTube

Written by Kamil Arli

Theaustralian is reporting that racist content prompts big exodus from YouTube

A week after Google apologised for running advertisements alongside objectionable videos, triggering a change in policy, its YouTube site is still rife with examples that are angering big global advertisers and causing some to cut spending with the tech giant.


Google’s automated system placed ads for some of the world’s biggest brands — including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Microsoft — on five YouTube videos peddling racist and anti-Semitic content, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal. Asked about the Journal’s finding that their ads were still ­appearing with such content on YouTube as of Thursday night, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores and Dish Network said they would halt spending on all Google advertising except tar­geted search ads.

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Starbucks and General Motors said they were pulling their ads from YouTube. FX Networks, part of 21st Century Fox, said it was suspending all advertising spending on Google, including search ads and YouTube.


Wal-Mart said: “The content with which we are being assoc­iated is appalling and completely against our company values.” A Google spokeswoman reiterated on Friday the company’s statement from earlier in the week that it was improving its policies and ­enforcement to better police content, pull more ads from “hateful, offensive and derogatory” videos and give advertisers more control over where their ads appeared.

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Google has already begun some of those steps, the spokeswoman said, including strengthening technology to auto­matically screen videos and adding more reviewers to pull ads from problematic videos and websites. However, she said there were imperfections in the software. Google removed four of the five videos flagged by the Journal and pulled ads from the fifth. The examples show how Google, the world’s largest advertising platform, is struggling to keep its clients’ ads away from questionable content as it works on solutions. The cancellations by many of the biggest US advertisers could dent revenue for Google, a unit of Alphabet.

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The ease with which journalists have been able to find top brands’ ads on controversial videos suggests Google is still failing to catch some of the most obvious examples. Ads for Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Toyota, Dish Network, Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico unit and Google’s own YouTube Red subscription service appeared on racist videos with the slur “n — ” in the title as of Thursday night. Those ads ran before two videos that dub a racist song over videos of former first lady Michelle Obama or Chicago rapper Chief Keef. The videos, posted by the same account, have been viewed more than 425,000 times and 260,000 times respectively

About the author


Kamil Arli

Editor of Digital Media Consultant

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