YouTube Slammed Over Profiting Off Drug and Sex Club Ads

Nebraska and Oklahoma officials send scathing letter to Google criticizing its video sharing subsidiary's advertising policies

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 12:08 PM

Attention YouTube: Nebraska and Oklahoma have a bone to pick with you.

Nebraska Attorney General Joe Bruning sent a letter to Google on Tuesday expressing concern about subsidiary YouTube's advertising policies.

Last week, at the summer meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Boston, attendees from across the country were shown screen shots from YouTube videos running in conjunction with Google adverts. They captured images related to the purchase of potentially dangerous painkilling drugs, such as OxyContin and Percocet, without a prescription, downloading pirated content and sex club promotions.

The presentation was led by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

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"Google stands to make money from ads running in conjunction with instructional videos on everything from illegally purchasing prescription drugs and making fraudulent passports to promoting human trafficking and terrorist propaganda," said Bruning in a press release describing his letter. "I'm deeply disappointed with Google's lackadaisical attitude toward Internet safety and consumer protection. The company should be held accountable for profiting from a platform that perpetuates criminal activity.

"I appreciate Attorney General Hood for placing this issue front and center at our national meeting,” said Bruning. "I intend to get answers on behalf of Nebraskans.”

The letter was co-signed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

"We take user safety seriously and have Community Guidelines that prohibit any content encouraging dangerous, illegal activities," Google told TheWrap. "This includes content promoting the sale of drugs. YouTube's review teams respond to videos flagged for our attention around the clock, removing any content that violates our policies. We also have stringent advertising guidelines, and work to prevent ads appearing against any video, channel or page once we determine that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.