In a blog post, Google’s chief business officer Phillip Schindler said “We know advertisers don’t want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values. So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.” He said that it would include removing ads more effectively from content that is “attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories.”
Google said that it’s also tightening its safeguards “to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program—as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines.” The company said that it’s also reexamining its exiswtzing community guidelines “to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.”
The action came after a number of UK advertisers initiated a boycott against YouTube because of offensive content appearing near their ads. Bloomberg reports that the “U.K. government and the Guardian newspaper pulled ads from the video site, stepping up pressure on YouTube to police content on its platform.”
Two way street
As a blogger who had to pull Google ads from a couple of sites because of inappropriate advertising, I’d like to make a pitch for also protecting content providers from inappropriate ads. Goole adwords, for example, are based on the content of the site they appear on and that usually works out pretty well. But sometimes it backfires. For example, I operate a site called SafeKids.com and, back when I accepted Google ads, there were times when ads would pop-up about dating sites and other products that weren’t appropriate for the messages on the site. My theory as to why that happened was because — in writing about internet safety — I sometimes had articles on such topics as sexting, unwanted sexual contact and online pornography which could have easily triggered content-based ads on related subjects. I also operates Larrysworld.com where the word CBS frequently appears because of my work with CBS News and KCBS Radio. But, there was a time when detractors of CBS were buying Google ads which wound up appearing on my site. While I respect the free speech of any advertiser, I had pretty good reasons not to want to display ads denigrating my own employer. There are ways to eliminate specific advertisers, but it’s difficult to eliminate any possible inappropriate ad, so I stopped accepting Google ads.