Australian government joins YouTube advertising exodus

What do Pepsi, Wal-Mart and the Australian Federal Government have in common? They're all fleeing YouTube.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech Culture Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
2 min read

YouTube is under fire once more.

Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Don't expect your next viral video of a boxing kangaroo to be sponsored by the Australian Government -- at least not on YouTube.

The Australian Government has announced it's suspending "all non-corporate campaign advertising" from YouTube. That includes everything from public messages from the Department of Health to Defence Force recruiting ads (though not ads for Government owned corporations like Australia Post).

The decision is another blow to Google's video platform, which has seen advertisers exit in droves over concerns their ads could appear alongside inappropriate or extremist content. The exodus has seen major US brands like Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and AT&T pull advertising material, as well as UK names such as the The Guardian.

Australia's move follows a similar decision by the British Government, which reportedly had its ads served up next to videos featuring former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Speaking about the decision to suspend advertising, Australian Special Minister of State Senator Scott Ryan said it would prevent taxpayer funds "inadvertently flowing to unsavoury organisations" through YouTube.

"The Australian Government... will continue to request updates from Google on the steps being taken to mitigate risks," he said.

Google says that it's doing an "extensive review" of its advertising policies and hopes to "give brands more control over where their ads appear."

"While we recognise that no system will be 100% perfect, we believe these major steps will further safeguard our advertisers' brands," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Update, 8:01 p.m. AEDT: Added comment from Google.

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