Monday 20 March 2017

Extremists Made £250,000 From Ads For UK Brands On Google


Extremists and hate preachers are estimated by marketing experts to have made at least $318,000 (£250,000) from adverts for household brands and government departments placed alongside their YouTube videos.

Google, which owns YouTube, is estimated by internet analysts to have taken a cut of $149,000 from advertisers for its role placing the ads against the content, even though brands did not want their names associated with the hate speech.

Wagdi Ghoneim, an Egyptian-Qatari Salafi Muslim preacher who has been banned from entering the UK due to concerns he is seeking to “provoke others to commit terrorist acts”, is estimated to have made $78,000 from adverts placed in anti-western propaganda videos.

Adverts placed against Ghoneim’s videos include campaigns by the BBC, Boots and Channel 4. Ghoneim’s YouTube channel, Wagdy0000, is the most popular of the online extremists found by the Times to be benefiting from Google’s programmatic advertising system, which uses algorithms to place brand adverts against any videos.

Ghoneim, who has been banned from entering the UK since 2009 because the government is concerned he is “seeking to foment, justify or glory terrorist violence”, has 207,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. His videos have been watched a total of 31m times.

YouTube video creators such as Ghoneim collect approximately $4.18 for every 1,000 times a video is viewed. Ghoniem’s channel is estimated, via a calculator provided by Influencer MarketingHub, to have made a total of $78,683.

It is impossible for third parties to find out exactly how much money Ghoneim and other extremists have made from YouTube. Google, whose corporate motto is “don’t be evil”, knows exactly how much each of its YouTubers makes, and provides them with dedicated revenue reports, breaking down where the money came from.

A Google spokeswoman refused to provide revenue reports for any of the extremists mentioned, and disputed the estimates. She said: “We are talking tens of pounds,” without providing any evidence. The spokeswoman also declined to address Google’s role in providing funding to people who have been banned from entering the UK due to terrorism concerns.

Ronan Harris, the managing director of Google UK, said: “We believe strongly in the freedom of speech and expression on the web – even when that means we don’t agree with the views expressed.”

Harris said the company had policies to “prohibit ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory or offensive content” but admitted: “We recognise that we don’t always get it right.” He said: “In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetisation policies. We promptly remove the ads in those instances, but we know we can and must do more.”

Other online extremists making money from adverts placed against their YouTube videos include the US pastor Steven Anderson, who was banned from the UK last year after he said the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was “good news” as “there’s 50 less paedophiles in the world”.

Anderson’s YouTube channel is estimated to have made $68,000 from 33.5m views of his videos, in which he says gay people “were not born that way, but they will burn that way”. Adverts that have appeared alongside Anderson’s videos include those for L’Oréal, Transport for London, Sainsbury’s, Nissan and the Guardian.

David Duke, a US white nationalist, antisemite and former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard, is estimated to have made $34,000. Britain First, the far-right movement set up by former British National party members, is thought to have made $66,000.

The government has joined a number of organisations, including the Guardian, BBC and TfL, in pulling all advertising from Google and YouTube in the wake of the controversy.



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