Global Brands Shun YouTube

Nestlé, Walt Disney Company, Epic Games and other brands announced that they had stopped buying adverts on YouTube after their ads appeared on children’s videos where the comment sections had been hijacked by suspected paedophiles, writes the New York Times.

A YouTube user posted a video this week highlighting this behaviour where videos of young girls doing gymnastics became overrun with suggestive remarks directed at the children.

The video highlighting the comments, posted by the YouTube creator Matt Watson accused YouTube of “facilitating the sexual exploitation” of children and had been viewed 1.75 million times since it was posted. Mr. Watson said YouTube’s recommendation system also guided predators to other similar videos of minors — many of which carried adverts for major brands.

This follows other global brands in 2017 pulling hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising from Google and YouTube amid growing concerns over advertising appearing next to extremist content.

A Nestle spokeswoman said they had decided to “pause” YouTube advertising globally while the issue was investigated. “We will revise our decision upon completion of current measures being taken … to ensure Nestlé advertising standards are met.”

“When we learned of this issue, we were — and still are — absolutely horrified and reached out to YouTube to rectify this immediately,” Senka Hadzimuratovic, a spokeswoman for the online grammar tool Grammarly, said in an email. “We have a strict policy against advertising alongside harmful or offensive content and would never knowingly associate ourselves with channels like this. It goes against everything our company stands for.”

A spokesperson for YouTube’s parent company, Google, said it had deleted the accounts and channels of people leaving the disturbing comments, deleted comments that violate its policies and reported illegal activity to the authorities.

This follows news that Google and Facebook’s share of digital advertising in the US has shrunk for the first time, reports the Telegraph. Industry analysts eMarketer predict that the companies’ combined share of digital advertising in America will fall from 60 per cent to 59.3 per in 2019. The decrease reverses years of Google and Facebook increasing their grip on digital advertising sales.

However, eMarketer said that 2019 will be the first time that digital advertising overtakes traditional media such as TV, radio and print in the US. It is predicted that Amazon’s share of the US market will approach 10 per cent in 2020, which will see its advertising business close to half the size of Facebook’s.