German firms inadvertently advertise products on Islamist webpages: report

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-14 01:39:28|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The advertisements of more than 20 German firms and organizations have been discovered on websites with extremist content, German public broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday.

The financial institution Postbank, the shoe retailer Deichmann and the Bavarian state government are included in the list of victims of misplaced marketing campaigns highlighted by ARD.

Amongst others, their slogans appeared on websites operated by Islamist terrorist organizations which urged visitors to "join Jihad" and "destroy infidels and Jews".

All of the businesses and public organizations affected had signed contracts banning the use of their publications on websites with extremist content.

A Deichmann representative told Xinhua, "Our advertisement agencies are obligated to ensure that our banners do not appear on websites that are illegal, extremist or harmful to youths."

According to ARD, the "AdSense" subsidiary of U.S. search engine operator and advertisement firm Google was to blame for most cases of inappropriate marketing.

"AdSense" distributes online marketing banners to millions of websites with an automated system. The operators of the websites earn revenue when these banners are clicked by visitors.

Many of the firms cited by ARD voiced dismay at the revelations. The installation of Postbank advertisements on an Indonesian Jihadist portal had "of course not been initiated by Postbank", a spokesperson for the firm said.

Similarly, a spokesperson for the Bavarian State Chancellery told press that it was "absolutely unacceptable" that its advertisements featured on "sites with such content".

However, Google was unwilling to comment on "individual websites" when questioned about the issue. The Menlo Park-based firm instead responded that it did "not permit the monetization of dangerous or derogatory content" and "vehemently enforced guidelines" towards this end.

Google has repeatedly faced criticism for failing to monitor whether its algorithms distribute advertisements to appropriate sites. German magazine SPIEGEL reported in 2015 that German firms marketing clips were appearing on right-wing extremist YouTube videos.

Such cases have irked Google's customers, leading several of its large advertisers to temporarily withdraw their marketing content. In order to contain the resulting reputation damage, YouTube has vowed to adopt improved monetization rules in 2018.

"In the coming months, we will introduce a three-step control system," a statement by Google read.