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“ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube…”

March 3, 2015

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid it down today in his speech to a joint meeting of Congress:

“ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube…”

This will come as no surprise to MTP readers as we have been hammering this issue for a long, long time.  And of course YouTube has gotten away with it so far, just like Google has with so many of its bad acts. Thanks to sharp reporting by Laurie Segall at CNN Money this story got on their air:

Jennifer Aniston lauds the benefits of Aveeno, Bud Light shows off beer at a concert, and Secret sells its freshly scented deodorant.

Pretty standard commercials, but what’s different is the content that comes after. In this case, they’re all followed by ISIS and jihadi videos.

Terrorism analyst Mubin Shaikh said one video is part of an ongoing propaganda series that ISIS produces and another is a jihadi-themed video.

Video sites like YouTube sell ad time to companies, and the ads get automatically inserted before the videos play. Advertisers don’t directly control where their ads are placed although they can specify the demographics they’d like to target.

“From a contract perspective, these corporations that are paying lots of money to get YouTube clicks may not be that pleased when they find out that their video is placed right before an ISIS recruitment video,” legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.

Though some videos may not violate YouTube’s policy against inciting violence, they might not be appropriate for advertising.

It’s almost impossible to know how many companies’ ads have run before videos like this, but at least two companies were unhappy with the content pairing.

“We were unaware that one of our ads ran in conjunction with this video,” a vice president of consumer connections at Anheuser-Busch (AHBIF) told CNNMoney after reviewing one of the videos that played one of its ads. “We have strict guidelines with our media partners that govern when and how our ads appear. We are working with YouTube and our media buying agency, Mediacom, to understand and rectify the matter.”

“Our ads should not have appeared and we’re working with YouTube to understand how it happened and to avoid it happening again,” said Paul Fox, director of corporate communications at Procter & Gamble (PG).

Really.  “Avoid it happening again”?  Exactly how does P&G intend to do that?  Not letting the advertiser control where their ad shows up is YouTube’s business model.  It’s not a design defect, it’s a feature.

This is what you call a duped advertiser–you know–someone like this:

Obama

But aren’t duped advertisers exactly the kind of person that is protected by most states’ unfair business practices and consumer protection laws.  Oh right–Google is suing a state attorney general to stop exactly this kind of investigation.  Why?

Because they’re on the Internet.  They’re special.

  1. mockstar
    March 4, 2015 at 11:49

    “Because they’re on the Internet. They’re special.”

  2. March 6, 2015 at 12:03

    Reblogged this on The Trichordist.

  3. Chris Castle
    March 7, 2015 at 05:43

    Reblogged this on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY and commented:

    Question for SXSW Panel: What recourse do advertisers have when their ads support ISIS recruiting videos? Does YouTube pay a refund?

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