YouTube Demonitizes 'Anti-Vax' Channels Following Buzzfeed Report
Policy bans the monetization of videos containing 'dangerous and harmful' material.
Video sharing platform YouTube has announced on Friday it will ban channels promoting content deemed as 'critical' of vaccinations from running advertisements.
A Youtube spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the 'anti-vax' content conflicts with its policy banning the monetization of videos containing “dangerous and harmful” material.
“We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies,” the representative told the outlet.
“We enforce these policies vigorously, and if we find a video that violates them, we immediately take action and remove ads," they added.
BuzzFeed contacted the advertisers making them aware that the algorithmically dictated ads, "programmic ads," were appearing alongside anti-vax videos, according to a report from Zerohedge.
"When we purchase programmatic media, we specify parameters that restrict the placement of our ads from association with certain content. Even so, however, sometimes ads get served in places that we don’t approve of. This is one of those cases," said a Retail Me Not spokesperson. "We’re working to exclude this placement now."
A spokesman for writing software platform Grammarly said the company also took immediate action.
"Upon learning of this, we immediately contacted YouTube to pull our ads from appearing not only on this channel but also to ensure related content that promulgates conspiracy theories is completely excluded," they said.
"We have stringent exclusion filters in place with YouTube that we believed would exclude such channels. We’ve asked YouTube to ensure this does not happen again."
The Hill reports: The move comes after a string of advertisers pulling their advertisements from such videos in recent days.
Seven advertisers told the publication that they reached out to YouTube after discovering that their advertisements appeared on videos with titles like “Mom Researches Vaccines, Discovers Vaccination Horrors and Goes Vaccine Free,” which advocates against vaccinating children.
The advertisements also reportedly appeared on content published under other channels that advocate against vaccination, including VAXXED TV and iHealthTube, Buzzfeed reported.
Those channels have since been demonetized by YouTube or prevented from running advertisements, according to the outlet.
One health tech company, Nomad Health, told Buzzfeed that it was “not aware of our ads running alongside anti-vaccination videos” and “does not support the anti-vaccination movement,” adding that it would “take action to prevent it from happening in the future.”
A spokesperson for Vitacost, a vitamin company that also reportedly had its advertisements featured on similar content, told the publication that it “pulled all YouTube advertising on Tuesday morning when we noticed content issues.”
“We had strict rules to prevent our ads from serving on sensitive content, and they were not effective as promised,” the spokesperson said.
“We will continue to remain off of the platform until those changes are made and are proven to be effective by other advertisers,” they added.