What happened? Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Adidas (among others) who paid to advertise on the platform found their ads appearing on channels promoting pedophilia, conspiracy theories, propaganda, and white nationalist hate speech.
Worse, several government organizations — like the Department of Transportation and Centers for Disease Control — also ran ads that unintentionally appeared on these channels.
The bottom line: It’s not the first time YouTube has drawn fire for failing to protect advertisers from this sort of content. Earlier this year, YouTube enacted a plan to prevent this sort of thing from happening by limiting which channels can generate revenue from advertisements, part of a broader effort to “prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing.”
A YouTube spokesperson told CNN:
We have partnered with our advertisers to make significant changes to how we approach monetization on YouTube with stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency.
When we find that ads mistakenly ran against content that doesn’t comply with our policies, we immediately remove those ads. 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.
Quick take: While all attention is turned to Facebook, it really couldn’t have happened at a better time. But mark my words, YouTube’s time under the spotlight is coming, and soon.
Read the rest of the report, including commentary from the companies involved over at CNN.