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Neo-Nazis scoop YouTube ad revenue from UK telcos

Blood and dishonour

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Neo-Nazis operating in the UK have reportedly used YouTube's advertising revenue-sharing system to gobble up payments from companies that include BT, O2 and Virgin Media.

None of the telcos were aware that the right-wing extremists who had posted the videos on Google's website were exploiting the search giant's Adsense network, which allows YouTube members who upload non-copyrighted vids onto the service to slurp up a portion of the advertising bucks.

The payments have apparently helped neo-Nazi groups to generate funding after they posted videos on the site that are often marked by YouTube as "potentially offensive or inappropriate" material.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Google had since taken down the videos after been alerted to the fact that the extremists were benefiting from the ads displayed on the content.

WARNING: This video is full of crap

It's unlikely, however, that Google will be able to effectively police such videos, and anyway, the extremists aren't breaking any of the company's Ts&Cs; the company allows any YouTube member to benefit from its revenue-sharing service as long as the material is original and not violating someone else's copyright.

Google does state on its community guidelines:

We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).

But such "offensive" material can only be removed on a case-by-case basis if complaints are sent to Mountain View. In the meantime, the YouTube members who wise up to joining AdSense can benefit, temporarily at least, from ads running on their videos, no matter how nasty the vids themselves might be.

A YouTube exec once told your correspondent that members of the YouTube community needed to act a bit like online curtain-twitchers to report such vulgar videos to Google.

Virgin Media, as one of the companies whose adverts were displayed on the neo-Nazi vids on YouTube, told the Herald:

"Virgin Media has a strict policy on its ad placement, so we are concerned about ads appearing against unrelated and unsuitable content on YouTube. We are currently engaged with our advertising partners and Google to understand what measures can be put into place to prevent these occurrences going forward." ®

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