YouTube pulled programmatic ad placements on a number of anti-vaccination or “anti-vax” related channels, BuzzFeed News reports.
“We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies,” a YouTube spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We enforce these policies vigorously, and if we find a video that violates them, we immediately take action and remove ads.”
A number of advertisers did not know their ads were being shown on videos that advocate against child vaccinations.
Channels that were affected include “alternative medicine” channels and specifically anti-vaccination channels. Three of the channels BuzzFeed News identifies account for roughly 473,000 subscribers on YouTube, as The Verge points out.
Compounding the Problem
The news comes after YouTube personality Matt Watson posted a video on Sunday exposing what he called a “soft-core pedophilia ring.” A number of major brands rushed to pull their advertisements in response, including Disney, Netsle, and Epic Games, maker of the massively popular video game Fortnite.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) included the growing resistance to vaccination on its latest list of the gravest threats to global health alongside Ebola and air pollution.
A number of recent measles outbreaks in a number of places around the world have refueled the debate over the anti-vaccination movement after the highly contagious disease was considered eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.
YouTube is facing a massive uphill battle. Combined with the threat of a network of pedophiles using the platform to communicate, the video platform has a lot of fires to still put out.