Tech giant Google said it has blocked several terms associated with hate speech from being used as ad keywords on YouTube videos.
According to The Verge, the move follows a report by The Markup, which found that advertisers could search for terms like “white lives matter” and “white power” when deciding where to place ads on YouTube.
At the same time, the report found, Google was blocking advertisers from using terms such as “Black Lives Matter” to find videos and channels to run ads against.
After The Markup reached out to YouTube parent company Google for comment, it said the company actually blocked more racial and social justice terms, including “Black excellence” and “civil rights.”
“We take the issue of hate and harassment very seriously and condemn it in the strongest terms possible,” The Verge quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.
“Though no ads ever ran against this content on YouTube, because our multi-layered enforcement strategy worked during this investigation, we fully acknowledge that the terms identified are offensive and harmful and should not have been searchable. Our teams have addressed the issue and blocked terms that violate our enforcement policies. We will continue to be vigilant in this regard,” the spokesperson added.
YouTube said it has several layers of protection in place to prevent offensive or harmful ads from running on its platform, and that it regularly removes videos containing hate speech.
Last year, the company said it blocked or removed more than 867 million ads for trying to evade its detection systems and more than 3 billion bad ads in total.
In 2019, it banned white supremacist content, and the company said it would restrict channels from monetizing videos that “repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies,” preventing them from running ads.