YouTube ban election ads from top spot

YouTube has prohibited election advertisements directly endorsing political candidates from appearing on the masthead spot on its homepage.

The masthead is the highly visible banner running on top of the YouTube homepage.

In 2020, the masthead cost around $2 million a day to advertise on, according to the New York Times.

Former US president Donald Trump purchased the coveted top slot for three days during the 2020 US presidential election, drawing criticism from the Democratic Party.

The online video giant also banned advertisements for alcohol, gambling, or prescription drugs, and will review advertisements on other political issues on a case-by-case basis.

Advertisements on these topics are still allowed on other sections of YouTube or other Google-owned platforms.

In December 2020, YouTube introduced features which allowed users to stop themselves receiving advertisements for alcohol or gambling and in July 2020 it banned advertisements promoting coronavirus conspiracy theories.

In May, the UK government unveiled a draft of new internet laws which will give Ofcom the power to fine technology companies such as YouTube up to £18 million, or ten per cent of annual turnover, if they fail to deliver a duty of care.

Under the new regulation, social media sites, websites, apps, and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online, must remove and limit the spread of illegal and harmful content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material, and suicide content.

Google reported $6 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2021, a 50 percent year-over-year growth.

"We regularly review our advertising requirements to ensure they balance the needs of both advertisers and users," said a Google spokesperson in a statement to advertisers. "We believe this update will build on changes we made last year to the masthead reservation process and will lead to a better experience for users."

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