Hundreds of clients withdraw from Google's advertising network after anti-semitism sting

Oli Gamp
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Google is under pressure for its alleged failure to remove anti-semitic videos from its YouTube platform after hundreds of brands were pulled out of its advertising network by agency Havas.

An investigation by the Times found that major companies and taxpayers were unknowingly funding extremists through advertising, with videos receiving $7.60 (£6.10) per 1,000 views of an advert.

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Some 200 offending videos were reportedly found on YouTube, including titles such as "Adolf Hitler vs The Jew World Order", which attempts to debunk beliefs that the Holocaust took place and whose owner described the video platform as "JewTube".

Other videos, including some helmed by David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, cite stereotyped theories that Jews control the world's banks and start wars for profit.

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One particular video alleged that Jews killed non-Jewish children on Passover and sold their bodies to McDonalds to be used as burger meat. It gained over a million views – enough to generate around £5,600 in advertising revenue to the individual behind it.

A Google representative said it allowed people to express their views freely, but would not allow videos that spread or incite hate.

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"Google believes in the right for people to express views that we and many others find abhorrent, but we do not tolerate hate speech," said a spokeswoman. "We have clear policies against inciting violence or hatred and we remove content that breaks our rules or is illegal when we're made aware of it."

Google's policy states: "We don't permit hate speech. [It is not] acceptable to post malicious, hateful comments about a group of people solely based on their race."

The tech giant says it cannot monitor every video posted to YouTube, due to the sheer quantity – between 100-300 hours of video are posted to the site every minute – and so it relies on the public to report offensive videos.

Google signed a European Commission code of conduct last year, which implores them to take down items flagged as hate speech within 24 hours, but it allegedly failed to take down six videos that were reported to them by the Times within that period.

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