A new report looking at the way YouTube and Google handle political ads revealed that the two companies had removed more than 300 ads purchased by Trump’s campaign. The Google transparency report for Trump’s advertisements dates back to 2018.
Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO, told CBS’s Lesley Stahl, “There are ads of President Trump that were not approved to run on Google or YouTube,” that were removed. However, Wojcicki did not provide a specific example of what policy the ads violated.
Watch the report below:
Google keeps track of which ads ran on its platform and CBS learned that more than 300 advertisements were removed — mostly over the summer. But reporters could not determine why they were removed or what policy they violated. As CBS’ Stahl reports:
“But the archive doesn’t detail what policy was violated. Was it a copyright violation? A lie or extreme inaccuracy? Faulty grammar? Bad punctuation? It’s unclear. The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened.”
Google’s archive does not reveal how long the ads ran for before being removed, though the report notes that the ads usually ran for a couple of days before they were taken down.
When Stahl pressed Wojcicki on allegations that social media companies and search engines are biased against conservatives, she flatly denied that YouTube targets conservatives.
“Well, first of all, there are lots of very successful conservative creators on YouTube. Our systems, our algorithms, they don’t have any concept of understanding what’s a Democrat, what’s a Republican. They don’t have any concept of political bias built into them in any way. And we do hear this criticism from all sides. We also have people who come from more liberal backgrounds who complain about discrimination. And so I think that no matter who you are, we are trying to enforce our policies in a consistent way for everybody.”
Trump has regularly complained that social media companies such as Twitter and YouTube censor conservative voices. In August, Politico reported that Trump was getting ready to issue an executive order designed to combat alleged biases against conservatives.
He vowed in July to take “all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech.” Technology experts have denied that social media companies target conservatives for censorship.
In recent months, Facebook has come under fire for its policies regarding political ads, with critics saying the platform should not allow politicians to make false claims in their advertisements. In a change to its policies, Twitter announced that it would ban political ads on its platform.