WASHINGTON, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ads for Presidential campaigns, as well as Super PACs supporting the candidates, are running next to videos for illegal and/or illicit products and services on YouTube. The Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington, DC based nonprofit consumer advocacy group, calls on YouTube's parent company – Google – to take action. The tech titan needs to take immediate steps to keep candidates' ads away from YouTube videos marketing violence, crime, and destructive behavior.
"This is not what these candidates wanted when they bought ads on YouTube," said Adam Benson, Deputy Executive Director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. "There's no candidate – for President, City Council, or Dog Catcher – that wants their face showing up next to videos with jihadist overtones, pictures capturing private moments of hackers' victims, or stolen credit cards. Right now, candidates can't be sure where their ads are showing up on YouTube. Google needs to take action to stop this immediately."
Examples of the DCA's findings can be found in their new report, Fear, Loathing, and Jihad: How YouTube is Pairing the 2016 Candidates with the Creepy, the Corrupt, and the Criminal, published today on the group's website. Researchers from the Digital Citizens Alliance searched through videos including several supportive of the terrorist group ISIS, marketing stolen credit cards, and demonstrating how to spread malware. The researchers went to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Virginia, in the days leading up to the primaries in each state, to review the videos. During these trips, researchers found ads for the Democratic candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as ads supporting Republican candidates Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor John Kasich, and former candidates Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rand Paul, and Governor Chris Christie.
"Google is making millions from campaign advertising, and sharing the candidates' money with bad actors posting videos for illegal or illicit activities," Benson said. "This is just the beginning. Wait until the Congressional races and state races heat up. Unless Google takes action quickly, terrorist sympathizers, hackers, and credit cards thieves are in line to get money, indirectly via the YouTube Partner Program, from our current and future leaders. If these bad actors are getting one penny from our Presidential candidates, it is one penny too much.
"We expect Google to use technology to solve problems, not to create them."
About the Digital Citizens Alliance
Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet and the importance for Internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry - to make the Web a safer place. Based in Washington, DC, the Digital Citizens Alliance counts among its supporters: private citizens, the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries as well as online safety experts and other communities focused on Internet safety.
The Digital Citizens Alliance is made up of people, just like you, concerned about making the Internet a better and safer place for everyone. Our goal is simple: make the Internet
Free of dangerous drugs sold online to unsuspecting individuals.
Free of illegal movies, videos, and music that steal from our citizens.
Free of scams, including identity theft and misleading advertising.
The Digital Citizens Alliance will be an active voice in promoting a better and safer Internet, working with governments, policy makers, security experts, and the businesses that operate the Internet. We will carry your voice – that of the consumer – to ensure that the Internet is a place we can trust. For more information please visit http://www.digitalcitizensalliance.org/.