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YouTube Becomes Latest Google Target By State Attorneys General
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has been accusing Google of facilitating consumer access to illegal sales of prescription drugs and counterfeit goods and from profiting from related ads shown in its search results. Now, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt are setting their sights on Google’s YouTube, claiming Google profits from ads served alongside videos promoting illegal activity.
TheHill.com is reporting that the two state AGs sent a letter to Google lawyer Kent Walker asking how much the company has earned from these ads and to describe what steps the company takes to prevent paid ads from showing for illicit videos. Bruning and Pruitt said they saw videos by foreign pharmacies promoting the illegal sale of prescription drugs online, as well as videos showing how to make fake IDs and forged passports, and others that promoted sales of counterfeit goods by a panel during a NAAG conference that was held in Boston last month.
Bruning and Pruitt are objecting, in particular, to the ad revenue sharing between these video producers and Google. “While this practice itself is not troubling, we were disappointed to learn that many such monetized videos posted to YouTube depict or even promote dangerous or illegal activities,” they wrote, according to The Hill report.
Along with requesting Google to disclose the amount of revenue the company generated from these ads, Bruning and Pruitt also asked Google to disclose how many videos were taken down over the past two years due to YouTube policies against the posting of illegal content, and of those, how many had been monetized with ads.
A Google spokesperson said YouTube’s review teams “work to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners.”