23 Nov'17

YouTube face another round of brand safety revelations

The Times reported that Iceland, O2 and Which? are some of the companies that have recently paused their advertisement on YouTube.


The reason for this is that their adverts were appearing next to videos of distressed children in “inappropriate” situations, which was bought to light by The Times.


One channel that published disturbing videos featuring children was called Toy Freaks. YouTube have now shut the channel down because it violated their company guidelines. However, the channel posted over 500 videos in six years and last summer Toy Freaks ranked as one of YouTube’s most watched channel. People are asking how the channel were allowed to be active for so long.


The Drum publish Google’s statement in response to The Times finding that adverts were being displayed on child abuse videos:


“We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment. We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern. It’s not always clear that the uploader of the content intends to break our rules, but we may still remove their videos to help protect viewers, uploaders and children.”


In response to The Drum’s question regarding what action YouTube are taking to avoid future brand safety concerns, a spokesperson for Google said, ‘We continue to be transparent on the process we’ve made with our machine learning algorithms and our dedication to making sure they are reaching the right audience on YouTube’.


The.Report published a feature in August of this year on big brands similarly stopping their advertising on YouTube because their adverts were being displayed next to explicit content such as terrorist propaganda videos. This was following another investigation by The Times. Ad week stated that ‘more than 250 brands pulled their advertising from YouTube’ after the revelation that their adverts were being shown next to explicit content.


Although YouTube face controversy regarding brand safety, it is important to keep in mind that this news comes from a Times’s investigation; a traditional publisher who is losing readership to the likes of YouTube.