Where does adtech go from here?
It’s a major problem for the automated adtech industry, if high profile brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Sandals Resorts are inadvertently advertising on jihadist and other extremist group’s websites. Ads for such companies have also appeared as pre-roll or a banner for videos produced by jihadist and other extremist groups on YouTube.
This is just another example of problems in controlling as placement. In December 2016, the adtech industry was under scrutiny for ads placed on politically controversial websites like Breitbart.
Now there are reports of ads appearing on sites of terrorist and extremist groups such the ISIS, and the neo-Nazi Combat 18, and in effect, potentially producing thousands of dollars in profit for those organizations.
For example, a Mercedes E-Class vehicle ad appears as running bar across the bottom of the screen during an ISIS YouTube video, and a Sandals resort ad appears on a YouTube video that captures the militant group al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda offshoot.
The investigation, by the Times of London, also found ads for Honda, Thomson Reuters, Halifax Bank and Liverpool University attached to clips for the UK neo-Nazi group Combat 18.
Google has since removed the aforementioned videos.
According to Documenting the Virtual Caliphate, an October 2015 report by the Quilliam Foundation, ISIS releases, on average, 38 new pieces of content per day—20-minute videos, full-length documentaries, photo essays, audio clips, and pamphlets, in languages ranging from Russian to Bengali.
We have to question how the industry has not created a suitable answer to this issue.
It’s time adtech and all the major players therein took this issue seriously!