Google receives letter from state AGs demanding halt to ads on illegal activity videos

Jul 3, 2013
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Google receives letter from state AGs demanding halt to ads on illegal activity videos

YouTube is packed full of videos of all sorts, ranging from compilations of other videos to music videos and funny cat clips. On the far side of the spectrum are videos depicting illegal activity and advertisement for illegal substances, such as promotional videos for online pharmacies that sell regulated medication. Advertisements show up alongside these videos, earning Google revenue, and three states have taken issue with this.

Mississippi was the first state to take issue with the advertisements displayed alongside videos depicting illegal activity, and today both Oklahoma and Nebraska joined it, with the attorneys-general - Scott Pruitt and Jon Bruning, respectively - from both states sending Google a letter complaining about this practice, calling for it to be put to an end.

In the letter, the attorneys-general said: "Not only are the activities depicted or promoted in the above-described videos illegal in and of themselves, but in the case of document forgery, the how-to guide could be instrumental in the commission of other crimes ranging from under-age drinking to acts of terrorism."

One example given was videos displaying instructions on how to forge passports and similar identification, next to which advertisements were displayed. Said Mississippi's attorney general Jim Hood, if such advertisements are not stopped, Google could receive a subpoena as part of an investigation into whether it has facilitated illegal drug sales, as well as other illegal activities, via the content. The state is currently running a probe in the matter, and it seems Nebraska and Oklahoma could end up following suit.

Google responded to the letter today, saying that it is working "to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners." This follows a statement last month that it has been working against rogue online pharmacies, as well as stopping advertisements for drugs that appear for legit users.

SOURCE: Yahoo! News


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