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Paramount Network and 20th Century Fox have pulled ads for their companies that appeared on the YouTube channels of right-wing website Infowars, known for peddling conspiracy theories, without their knowledge, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Saturday.
Fox has asked YouTube for a refund of money made from the advertisements. Paramount Network says it is adjusting its “brand safety filters” to prevent ads from appearing on channels like Infowars‘ again.
“We were unaware of this ad placement and upon learning of it, immediately had it taken down,” a Fox representative said Saturday in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Our existing YouTube ad filters should have prevented this placement and we are having further conversations with YouTube now to make sure this never happens again.”
“It was not the intent of Paramount or its media agency to run within that specific YouTube channel,” a Paramount Network representative on Saturday told THR. “Though the media inventory that ran was minimal (estimated to be less than $20 dollars), we have pulled all advertising from the channel and have adjusted our campaign’s brand safety filters to ensure channels such as this are not included in our campaigns. As with all of our advertising efforts, we endeavor to promote the Paramount Network in content that will elevate the brand while delivering a relevant message to our audience.”
Brands that buy ad campaigns from YouTube and marketing companies that work with YouTube don’t always necessarily know where their ads are being placed, though they can place content filters on ad campaigns to avoid placement on channels with fake or explicit content. Nike, Expedia, Acer, ClassPass and Alibaba have also had ads taken down from Infowars‘ Youtube channels, according to CNN.
Infowars, run by radio host Alex Jones, is known for sharing conspiracy theories, such as: The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax with child actors; 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government; and Bill Gates is a eugenicist.
In late February, an Infowars YouTube channel received a “strike” against it for posting a video claiming that one of the outspoken survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, was a crisis actor. Channels that receive three strikes within the span of three months are removed from YouTube, according to the platform’s policies.
The Alex Jones Channel, one of Infowars‘ biggest channels on YouTube, has 2.27 million subscribers, and some of its most popular recent videos, such as one claiming that the Parkland shooting is a “false flag” and another about the “truth” about Marvel’s Black Panther movie, have hundreds of thousands of views.
CNN was the first to report the news.
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