Soo...how does Youtube political ad targeting work?


#1

Because just now I went to watch a ContraPoints video and, I shit you not, got a 4 minute long Ben Shapiro ad video about the horrors of Intersectionality and how the left is trying to curb your free speech. Luckily I could skip it (after being forced to watch a few seconds!!), and I flagged it as irrelevant too. It has left a very bad taste in my mouth though.

It can’t be pure coincidence that Ben Shapiro showed up on an ad before a ContraPoints video (especially after her recent takedown of him). Some right-wing group had to have paid Google to show this ad in front of her videos, or to show it to people who Google’s algorithm has marked as politically left-leaning. And Google either just went along with it, or couldn’t be bothered to vet it. And since you have to watch at least a few seconds of any ad that’s even more fucked up in my book. I was already worried about the world’s slide back towards fascism, and that they can do this to opposing viewpoints really has me on edge.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like for a transgender individual to have to sit through and watch 15 seconds of fucking Ben Shapiro without prior warning (For those who don’t know, he is an alt-right talk show host who is very anti-trans).

Makes me glad I run Adblock on PC, should really download it on my phone though.


#2

Yup, that sure does suck! I’ve gotten anti-immigrant ads in front of completely ordinary music videos.

Here’s Google’s help page for YouTube ad targeting. Turns out advertisers have a lot of targeting options to choose from, and you can in fact place an ad in front of videos from a specific channel or even a specific video. It could also have been subject-based targeting, if Shapiro wanted to get viewers who watch political videos.


#3

Well, that’s messed up. So technically there is nothing stopping the KKK from paying to target ads that tell people of color they are scum?

Why does Google even allow paid political ads to begin with? It’s very one-sided, considering all the money is pretty much literally on one side.

It’s crazy that most of the suggested videos underneath her videos are for faschie channels as well. Heil Google I guess.


#4

I have seen political ads, but right now they’re mainly about Canada’s election reform vote, I’ve never seen anything explicitly reactionary like what you’re describing. It sounds horrifying and possibly even traumatic.

I’d say it’s weird that Youtube tries to pass itself off as progressive, but that’s literally what neoliberalism is.


#5

If the actual KKK tried to run an ad like that, a reviewer would block it for breaking Google’s rule against promoting intolerance. Shapiro’s bullshit, unlike the KKK’s, is within the regular bounds of American political discourse, so it gets through. (Unless he was explicitly transphobic in the ad itself. Then you might have been able to get it taken down by reporting it for “inappropriate content.”)


#6

For a while, I kept getting Daily Wire ads on my homepage, even after I flagged them as 100% not my shit.

As said before, the algorithms will not save us


#7

I think Prager (who I assume was behind your Shapiro ad) has been blanketing Youtube a lot lately. Last week I got a ridiculous “Of COURSE it’s a war on Christmas!” ad from Prager

At that point I was in the dark as to who they were, so I went to their website to see what the hell they were even about and it seems like they specialize in those kinds of dumb videos and had a news update talking about Youtube trying to block/ban their videos

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say they’re gaming the system and even Youtube doesn’t want them