Smooth skin, cold beer, a clean kitchen floor - all perfectly normal things to advertise to average consumers. But potential terrorists? Some major brands are less than pleased that their pre-roll commercials are running before Islamic State recruitment videos on Youtube.
Big advertisers — like Budweiser, Aveeno, Proctor & Gamble, and Swiffer — have been shocked to find that their ads are being paired with propaganda videos for Islamist militants currently overrunning vast swathes of the Middle East and beheading innocent prisoners on camera.
"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 told CNN.
In YouTube's defense, pre-roll ads are automatically inserted in front of videos and the site does have guidelines about what content is appropriate for advertising and for appearing on the site at all.
However, with 300 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute, monitoring that content is a daunting task, and YouTube certainly relies on its users to flag and report content that may violate the site's guidelines. Obviously, not every unfortunate ad-video combo is being caught. And it doesn't help that the social media profligacy of the Islamic State presents these platforms with a new challenge.
“We were unaware that one of our ads ran in conjunction with this video," Anheuser-Busch said in a statement after they realized their beer commercials had run before the terrorist group’s propaganda. "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.”
In its community guidelines, YouTube is pretty clear about the types of content that it considers inappropriate for the site, including violent content "primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful," hateful content, or dangerous content portraying "harmful or dangerous acts," all of which could potentially apply to some Islamic State videos.
“We also have stringent advertising guidelines," a Youtube Spokesperson told CNN. "[And we] work to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners.”
Though advertisers don't select exactly which videos their ads appear in, Youtube says they provide tools "including targeting and/or excluding by audience demographics, topics and category, and content appropriateness."
"If we receive a complaint from an advertiser whose ad served against your video, we reserve the right to disable monetization on your video if we determine that it did not meet our policy guidelines."
It does appear that YouTube has removed advertising content from flagged videos and in some cases the videos themselves. Someone familiar with YouTube's advertising model told Fox News 8 that those particular videos had not generated money and in the case that revenue had been generated it could have been returned to the advertisers.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
does not correspond with the subject of the post;
promotes hatred and discrimination on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious or social basis or violates the rights of minorities;
violates the rights of minors, causing them harm in any form, including moral damage;
contains ideas of extremist nature or calls for other illegal activities;
contains insults, threats to other users, individuals or specific organizations, denigrates dignity or undermines business reputations;
contains insults or messages expressing disrespect to Sputnik;
violates privacy, distributes personal data of third parties without their consent or violates privacy of correspondence;
describes or references scenes of violence, cruelty to animals;
contains information about methods of suicide, incites to commit suicide;
pursues commercial objectives, contains improper advertising, unlawful political advertisement or links to other online resources containing such information;
promotes products or services of third parties without proper authorization;
contains offensive language or profanity and its derivatives, as well as hints of the use of lexical items falling within this definition;
contains spam, advertises spamming, mass mailing services and promotes get-rich-quick schemes;
promotes the use of narcotic / psychotropic substances, provides information on their production and use;
contains links to viruses and malicious software;
is part of an organized action involving large volumes of comments with identical or similar content ("flash mob");
“floods” the discussion thread with a large number of incoherent or irrelevant messages;
violates etiquette, exhibiting any form of aggressive, humiliating or abusive behavior ("trolling");
doesn’t follow standard rules of the English language, for example, is typed fully or mostly in capital letters or isn’t broken down into sentences.
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.