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Barnet Southgate college ads appear in upsetting MH17 crash footage signalling more flaws in YouTube's ad targeting system


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

July 18, 2014 | 2 min read

Adverts promoting a "dream job" competiton for a top North London college have appeared next to a distressing YouTube video showing footage from the Mayalsian Airlines MH17 disaster.

The footage hosted on the Russian Life News channel shows remains of the crash, partially censored images of dead bodies, and shots of the passports and plane tickets of the deceased.

Barnet Southgate College's ads are not only highlighted during the upsetting video - which has thus far received over 660,000 views - but have also appeared alongside it prompting users to tweet their dream jobs to win tickets to Bestival.

It is further evidence of major flaws in YouTube's automated advert system. Last week, the BBC, National Citizen Service, and several UK charities had adverts appear before Jihadist YouTube videos.

At the time, ISBA’s director Bob Wootton told The Drum that the YouTube error was "one of the most unfortunate instances of advertising in inappropriate environments yet”.

However, IPA's media and emerging technologies consultant Nigel Gwilliam highlighted that such erros are indicative of the challenge YouTube faces in monetising user-generated content.

“Things get more difficult when you monetise freedom of speech... YouTube are taking user generated content and running ads on it with a resultant revenue split."

Barnet Southgate College had not yet replied to The Drum's request for comment.

In wake of the ad misplacement error last week, Oxfam pulled all ads with the platfrom.

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