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In February 2017, The Times of London reported that advertisers were unwittingly funding extremist groups by paying for advertising on those groups' YouTube videos. Advertisers did not know that illegal or objectionable entities were somehow being funded by their advertising spend, via mechanisms of which they were unaware. They were also surprised that their media investment advisors and partners were equally in the dark.

This set off a firestorm that led to many brands withdrawing their advertising from YouTube. Suddenly 'brand safety' was the subject du jour. Google, YouTube's parent, came under vast pressure to prevent further occurrences, and took certain steps1 to vet extremist content in order to close it off to advertising.