Commexis Cast Daily – Apr. 24, 2018: Another YouTube Brand Safety Controversy!

Today’s Commexis Cast discusses CNN’s latest investigation that found over 300 brands had ads running on YouTube channels that promoted Nazism, white nationalism, pedophilia, conspiracy theories, and North Korean propaganda.

CNN reports that companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Under Armour, and more unintentionally helped financed these channels. Many of the brands said they had no idea their ads were running on this content before it was brought to their attention by CNN, and those that did were already in talks to have it removed.

This comes following a multitude of YouTube brand safety controversies in the past. From the first wave of advertisements being run on extremist channels that resulted in some brands pulling their dollars from the platform to conspiracy videos being found in the YouTube kids app, and even various controversies caused by YouTube stars that the platform deemed safe for advertising, this is far from YouTube’s first PR defense on this matter.

What surprises us the most about these brand safety problems is YouTube’s unwillingness to take some form of editorial control, or at the very least, truly assert a brand safety process. Previously, YouTube has pulled or demonetized the videos of gun enthusiasts following a change in their policies that would “ban videos that offer instructions on how to make firearms and accessories such as silencers and bump stocks. It will prohibit content in which firearms and accessories are sold, both directly and through other websites. Videos on how to install firearms modifications will also be barred,” according to NPR. While a ban would likely cause quite the upset, there’s no reason a demonetization couldn’t occur.

In fact, CNN reported that these brands were using a filter setting and blacklist to ensure that their ads were only appearing on appropriately brand safe videos. So, this process should have been occurring in the first place, but did not.

Many brands are looking to hire brand safety officers to help their business take better control over where their ads end up. Phillip points out that the Brand Safety Officer position isn’t directly created for these forms of social media advertising, though it certainly helps, but for ensuring brand safety in influencer marketing and generally doing the due diligence of brand safety. You can read a fantastic write up on Chase’s brand safety guidelines for YouTube on Digiday.

Today’s cast: Phillip Brooks (Commexis Lead Strategist) and Matthew McGrorty (Commexis Videographer/Podcaster).

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Matt McGrorty

Videographer / Podcaster

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