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YouTube U-turns on coronavirus video ad ban


By John Glenday, Reporter

March 12, 2020 | 3 min read

YouTube has pulled a dramatic U-turn on its decision to demonetise videos pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, after pronouncing just last month that such content would not be eligible for adverts under its guidelines.

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YouTube has found itself under a microscope over its role in spreading misinformation around coronavirus

At the time, the video streaming service categorized the viral outbreak as falling under its ‘sensitive events’ bracket, a catch-all container for any ‘unforeseen event in which there has been a loss of life’.

Created as a brand safety failsafe to minimise the risk of material deemed unsuitable for association with commercial partners coming into association negative footage the decision has now been reversed, with advertisers now featured alongside trusted sources.

Confirming the change in approach, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki said: “In the days ahead, we will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels, including creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners.

“It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.”

YouTube has found itself under a microscope over its role in spreading misinformation around coronavirus, amid fears that the platform has become a haven for trolls, conspiracy theorists and fake news.

Attempting to get on top of this narrative Google has enacted a raft of measures designed to combat the problem by moving more aggressively to remove misinformation and prioritise authenticated sources in coordination with Facebook and Twitter.

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