YouTube and Google’s latest negative headlines aren’t related to music copyright. They concern adverts being pulled from the platforms after being placed next to extremist material.

The story has been building fast in recent days: on Thursday, British news publication the Guardian pulled all its ads from YouTube AND Google.

“Ads for the Guardian’s membership scheme are understood to have been placed alongside a range of extremist material after an agency acting on the media group’s behalf used Google’s AdX ad exchange,” explained its story.

“The content included YouTube videos of American white nationalists, a hate preacher banned in the UK and a controversial Islamist preacher.”

On Friday, French advertising group Havas followed suit, claiming that Google had been “unable to provide specific reassurances, policy and guarantees that their video or display content is classified either quickly enough or with the correct filters”.

The same day, the British government also placed a “temporary restriction” on its YouTube advertising “pending reassurances from Google that government messages can be delivered in a safe and appropriate way”.

Google has already promised “a thorough review of our ads policies and brand controls”.

The issues here are as much about the way ads are bought and sold ‘programatically’, but it is another poke in the eye for large internet companies’ desire to be platforms without the responsibility of publishers.

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