Someone who posts a video on YouTube generally gets $7.60 (£6.14) for every 1,000 advert views it generates, meaning that YouTubers from even the darkest corners of the internet may be profiting from adverts for the Financial Conduct Authority, Sainsbury's, and more.
The investigation, by the Times, did not reveal how much money had been siphoned off by extremists from the adverts, but listed some of the most controversial examples of adverts appearing on terrorist content:
- The Metropolitan Police had an advert on inbaa.com, a website linked to Hezbollah
- The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust is advertised with content from far-right organisation the National Rebirth of Poland
- A BBC advert has been connected to the YouTube page of Egyptian preacher Wagdi Ghoneim, who was banned from the UK in 2009 for glorifying terrorism.
A government spokesperson said:
Google is responsible for ensuring the high standards applied to government advertising are adhered to and that adverts do not appear alongside inappropriate content.
Google has been hauled in front of officials at the Cabinet Office to explain how it will end the inappropriate advertising.
A spokesperson from Google said: "We have strict guidelines that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended, protecting users and advertisers from harmful or inappropriate content. We accept that we don’t always get it right, and that sometimes, ads appear where they should not. We’re committed to doing better, and will make changes to our policies and brand controls for advertisers."