YouTube Ran Big Name Ads on Nazi and North Korean Propaganda Channels

A CNN investigation revealed Thursday that YouTube placed major advertisers on extremist channels that advocated for white nationalism, Nazism, conspiracy theories, pedophilia and promoted North Korean propaganda.

The ads came from more than 300 companies including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Adidas, Cisco and others, it was reported. It is possible they unknowingly partially funded the channels with their ads.

An email to CNN one of the extremist channel owners pushed back on the network’s initial use of the term neo-Nazi to describe the content, arguing it was plain Nazism, stating “from a mainstream perspective, I am not a neo Nazi. I am the real deal. I am a real, genuine and sincere Nazi. I am devoted to Adolf Hitler. And you can quote me on that.”

Some of the companies contacted by CNN said they had no idea their ads landed on the extremist channels, and that they were looking into the matter.

“We have strong values-led guidelines in place and are working with YouTube to understand how this could have slipped through the guardrails. We take these matters very seriously and are working to rectify this immediately,” a spokesperson for Under Armour, another company affected, told CNN. The company has since pulled its business from the platform.

However, this isn’t the first time companies have seen their ads misused, raising serious questions concerning YouTube’s regulation of ad placement and whether it can protect the image of its business partners. While anyone may register for an account and share videos, the location of ads remains up to YouTube itself.

[Image via YouTube]

Follow Amy Russo on Twitter: @amymrusso

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