A YouTube spokesman declined comment on individual videos but said it has begun an extensive review of its advertising policies and will give brands more control over where their ads appear.
New sensitive subject classifiers: YouTube video campaigns will have three new classifications added - sexually suggestive, profanity and rough content, and sensational and shocking content, to make it easier for brands to identify high-risk content before choosing to advertise. Recently this approach has led a number of big brands and marketing agencies to boycott YouTube and Google's other networks, amid claims that their advertising content is now occasionally appearing on clips promoting offensive material.
In an interview to Fox Business Network, chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company, had this to say: "What we do is, we match ads and the content, but because we source the ads from everywhere, every once in a while somebody gets underneath the algorithm and they put in something that doesn't match". These companies have been pulling out one by one because out of concern that their ads can feature next to offensive/racist videos, some as problematic as hate speech. Using the new machine-learning tools, and "a lot more people", the company in the last two weeks flagged five times as many videos as "non-safe", or disabled from ads, than before.
As we reported last month, many advertisers - especially ones based in the United Kingdom - pulled their ads from Google's platforms citing concerns of associating their brand with questionable content. According to Schindler, brand safety had "always been a small problem" but "over the last few weeks, someone has chose to put a bit more of a spotlight on the problem".
But even that doesn't seem to be enough for some advertisers, who said they've chosen to continue keeping ads off of YouTube until Google can demonstrate that the ad problem has been definitively addressed. "We're bringing more to the table and we can execute on business transformation", he said.
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Google isn't alone in this ad fight, either. "But it isn't", he said at Google's annual advertising show.
A company spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the system will also incorporate input from third-party measurement and brand safety firms like Integral Ad Science and ComScore.
New default settings: based on advertiser feedback, brands will need to opt-in to advertise on live streams and more sensational content.
Some researchers argue digital platforms should rely on humans to make these editorial decisions. A lot of them were relying on YouTube because it might have been 30 percent of their YouTube budget. "The problem can not be solved by humans and it shouldn't be solved by humans". Google lets any user upload videos and sets thresholds for which ones can run ads. Google's targeting technologies can allow advertisers to place their ads around specific types of videos or present them to specific groups of viewers. "You can't guarantee it".