YouTube rejected an ad submission from a veteran’s charity foundation because it used the word Christian which was flagged as an “unacceptable” keyword.
To prove he is not making it up, a U.S. Marine veteran is sharing a screenshot on Twitter of what happened when he tried to publish an advertisement for his charity, Mighty Oaks Foundation, that supports military veterans.
In the screenshot, Google Ads through the Google-owned YouTube rejected his advertisement, flagging it for the use of “unacceptable content as keyword.” The lone keyword it flagged was the word: “Christian.”
The on-screen prompts included a warning that the “following keywords violate Google Ads advertising policies.” YouTube requested that the user “remover the unacceptable content to continue.”
Marine veteran Chad Robichaux was only trying to publish an ad to promote his Saturday episode of the “Mighty Oaks Show,” which features content focused on the veteran community, including interviews with military veterans.
The use of “keywords” is a standard advertising practice that helps target the advertisement to the best audience suited to the content. In other words, it’s how you make sure your advertisement is seen by the right people.
Robichaux tweeted about his experience with Google ads on YouTube, showing a screenshot of the rejection of the word “Christian” and the tweet went viral. The tweet garnered the attention of TeamYouTube, who replied by writing the following:
“We know that religious beliefs are personal, so we don’t allow advertisers to target users on the basis of religion. Beyond that, we don’t have policies against advertising that includes religious terms like “Christian.”
However, that turned out not to be necessarily true…
After getting rejected for the use of the word “Christian,” and the Twitter reply from YouTube, Robichaux decided to challenge the social media giant on their statement.
Robichaux tested submitting the very same ad, with no changes, except for replacing the keyword “Christian” with the keyword “Muslim.”
This time around, the ad was approved without any red flags from Google Ads. It is important to note that the screenshot Robichaux provided on Twitter didn’t show that the keyword was actually approved, however. It just showed that he added the keyword while creating the ad, but hadn’t finished yet.
Despite YouTube saying that targeting people with religious terms is not allowed – as the above-described test shows – it seems that might not be the case.
It’s a common-sense question: If a Christian organization wants to reach other Christians, what other keywords would you use except “Christian?” For example, how would a gospel music record label promote a YouTube Christian music video without using the word “Christian?”
YouTube’s so-called policy is utter nonsense. It makes about as much sense as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama using the word “Easter worshipers” in their replies over the attacks that occurred in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday 2019, instead of calling the situation what it was: an attack on Christians.
Robichaux told Faithwire: “How do we operate as a Christian organization if we can’t use the word ‘Christian?’”
One can only draw the conclusion that this appears to be a form of censorship, either that or extremely bad programming in the way the ad channel works and filters keywords. The problem is unclear.
Several religious news organizations reached out to Google for comment on the matter and the company has not immediately responded to their requests.