- Still reeling from a brand safety issue tied to offensive content, YouTube lost a handful of advertisers — Etihad Airways, Marriott, Deliveroo and the U.K.'s Labour Party – after they found their ads appearing next to content from a hate preacher, according to CNN.
- YouTube has been working to implement a solution, but its challenge is the sheer volume of content on the site — 300 hours of video content is uploaded to the platform each minute. As a result, flagging offensive content is largely left up to users.
- The uproar over brand safety started with a handful of brands expressing concerns over video content. The issue came to a head at the end of March, and the resulting massive advertiser exodus that eventually took place cost YouTube 5% of its advertisers in April.
Google has been working to fix the offensive content problem on YouTube and as part of one such solution it released updated guidelines for creator content considered advertiser-friendly early last month. The guideline changes were based on what Google described as thousands of productive conversations with advertisers that led to tougher stances on hateful content, inappropriate use of family entertainment characters and incendiary and demeaning content.
The issue has put YouTube in a tough spot because while it has been forced to take steps to reduce offensive content and lure advertisers back to the platform, those steps also hurt the ability of popular content creators to monetize their videos. If those creators leave the platform for other options such as Twitch, YouTube loses content to serve ads on.
The conversation around offensive content has also created a larger debate around online advertising about whether ad platforms like Google and Facebook are responsible for content where ads appear, or if brands have to police where they purchase inventory.