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TravelGuides – Most of United Australia Party’s videos pulled from YouTube for allegedly violating advertising policy | United Australia party

TravelGuides – Most of United Australia Party’s videos pulled from YouTube for allegedly violating advertising policy | United Australia party

Three out of every four video adverts the United Australia Party has posted on YouTube since late September have been pulled by Google for allegedly violating the tech giant’s advertising policies, according to Google’s transparency report.

Since former Liberal MP Craig Kelly joined the UAP in late August, the party has spent $2.684m on 25 ads run on YouTube, boosting the number of views on the party’s videos into the millions. The spend far outweighs the amount being spent by any other political party. The next nearest is Labor with $60,750.

It is not clear from the report what the removed videos contained or which of Google’s policies they are alleged to have violated.

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Labor has previously raised concerns that the UAP was using its platform to undermine confidence in Australia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, citing videos in which Kelly questioned the safety of Covid vaccines or promoted the drug ivermectin.

In October, Labor’s shadow assistant minister for communications, Tim Watts, wrote to Google asking why the UAP was allowed to remain on YouTube given some videos had already been removed for allegedly violating its policy. In parliament in October, Watts noted Kelly himself had said he had received one strike, and questioned why the UAP was still allowed on the platform.

“The question is: why is the member for Hughes and the UAP’s YouTube page still operating after repeatedly violating YouTube’s policies, let alone spending millions of dollars promoting medical misinformation during a pandemic? Given the member for Hughes’s record of spreading misinformation and his intent to match the 2019 election spend of the UAP, the potential for harm is obvious and Google must act in a transparent and proactive way.”

Google appears to now be closely scrutinising advertising from the United Australia Party. According to Google’s transparency report, 12 of the last 16 ads UAP has paid for – or nearly half of the 25 ads since Kelly became leader – have been pulled by YouTube for violating the company’s ad policy.

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Screenshot of the United Australia Party’s Google transparency page showing ads removed Photograph: YouTube

Guardian Australia has sought comment from the United Australia Party.

Kelly previously told Guardian Australia that “it is a disgrace and a new low that a political party would ask a foreign oligarch to censor freedom of speech in Australian politics”.

“The idea that an alternate opinion of an expert is misinformation is a claim I categorically reject,” Kelly said. He said Labor’s appeal to Google amounted to “silencing of genuine debate, and that will leave the public misinformed”.

The ads had been pulled after UAP had spent either up to $50,000 or over $100,000 on each of the ads. Google’s transparency report tracks expenditure on political advertising by $50,000 increments.

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All but two of the removed ads had between 1m and 10m impressions before removal, the remaining two had between 100,000 and 1m.

The move came after Google removed a number of videos in response to Labor providing a list of videos they argued violated Google policy on misinformation. In a letter sent to Watts on 3 November, Google’s head of public policy and government affairs, Samantha Yorke, identified six videos Google had removed in response, including a video on Kelly’s private members’ bill banning vaccination passports, a video entitled “Rowan Dean was right on ivermectin” and a 10 May interview with then-Sky News host Alan Jones, in which Kelly questioned the efficacy of Covid vaccines.

Yorke said Google had also taken action with regard to its strikes policy, but did not specify whether the UAP had any strikes left before it would be banned from YouTube.

Watts questioned how many more times the UAP and Kelly would need to violate Google’s policies before being “kicked off for good”.

“Online misinformation has consequences. We’re currently seeing it play out in the extremism and violent rhetoric some are using in the recent protests at Victorian Parliament,” he told Guardian Australia.

TravelGuides – Most of United Australia Party’s videos pulled from YouTube for allegedly violating advertising policy | United Australia party

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