YouTube bans gambling, political ads on masthead

Gelo Gonzales
YouTube bans gambling, political ads on masthead

MASTHEAD BAN. YouTube illustrates the part of the site where the masthead ad appears on desktop computers

Google support page screenshot

The masthead ad unit is among the most visible placements on the YouTube page, and likely commands the highest dollars

YouTube will no longer accept gambling, alcohol, prescription drugs, and political and election ads on its masthead ad unit starting Monday, June 14.

Axios was first to report the policy change, detailed on YouTube’s ad policy page here.

The masthead ad unit pertains to the ads that users see at the top of the YouTube homepage. The platform considers it the “most prominent Google advertising placement available to advertisers.”

Given the unit’s standing in YouTube’s hierarchy of page display-based ad products, the move may result in significant reduction in the promotion of the said topics.

The policy though doesn’t extend to other Google ad products, with Google saying that “disapproved YouTube masthead ad assets may continue to run on Google’s other owned and operated properties.”

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On political ads, Axios reported that while ads endorsing a candidate are prohibited, ads that are “political in nature, like issue ads, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

Political ads have long been a point of contention among digital platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, along with Google, historically have had laxer rules, while Twitter has banned political ads completely.

Apart from these tech giants, Axios also noted at least one incident where a publisher, The Washington Post, received flak for running political ads.

YouTube also has a page dedicated to policies on its masthead ad unit. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.