Nation & World

YouTube hate videos snare Ikea ads as Google works to solve problem

Google crisis spreads

FILE PHOTO: A picture illustration shows a YouTube logo reflected in a person’s eye June 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A picture illustration shows a YouTube logo reflected in a person’s eye June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Major advertisers across Europe and Asia are still appearing alongside extremist YouTube videos days after technology giant Google said it was taking steps to protect its clients from inadvertently supporting hate.

An anti-Semitic clip claiming the existence of a “Jewish World Order” was featured alongside advertisements in Germany from insurer AXA, oil company Total in France, Range Rover vehicles in South Africa, footwear retailer Skopunkten and website Tradera in Sweden, Bloomberg searches of YouTube from each country found on Thursday.

The video was also paired with brands in Asia — Castrol lubricants in India and Cow & Gate infant formula in Hong Kong.

A separate sermon by preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril, who according to U.S. prosecutors once took credit for a terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia, can be viewed alongside advertisements from Nissan in Sweden and wireless carrier MTN Group in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Islamophobic English Defence League gathers support from advertisers Total, Netflix, IBM and watchmaker Tag Heuer International in France.

The controversy over ad placement, now in its second week, is expanding across the globe at a pace Alphabet’s Google has struggled to match in its response. On Thursday, as Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said Google could “get pretty close” to guaranteeing companies’ ads won’t be placed near hateful material, advertisers throughout Europe were confronting more than a dozen new examples and scrambling to protect their brands.

“We didn’t know that our ads were played in this context,” Axa spokeswoman Anja Kroll said in an email. “We have immediately arranged for an update of the filters and stopped the delivery” of ads with these videos because “diversity, tolerance and openness are values that are of key importance for us and that we practice daily.”

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While Axa hasn’t pulled its ads from YouTube, the German unit is using “blacklist” filters to prevent its ads from appearing next to extremist, racist or other undesired content, Kroll said. In this case, she said, the filters apparently failed.

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