Attorney General Pruitt Tuesday joined Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning in a letter to Google, outlining the states’ concerns with Google earning revenue on potentially dangerous videos through its video posting subsidiary, YouTube.
“These videos promote illegal conduct and can lead to other crimes from prescription drug abuse to terrorism,” Pruitt said. “The fact that Google may be profiting off of these videos that are peddled to kids and teenagers is unconscionable.”
The revenue sharing practice, called monetizing, involves producers posting videos that promote illegal activity on YouTube, with both Google and the producers splitting revenue from advertising that appears when the videos are displayed.
Specific examples cited in the letter, include videos providing how-to guides for creating forged drivers’ licenses and passports, videos promoting the sale of counterfeit merchandise and illegal foreign “pharmacies” selling prescription drugs without a prescription.
“We understand that YouTube is an open platform and that not all content can or should be policed. Nevertheless, the fact that Google actively seeks to profit from the posting of these types of videos on YouTube – a website known to be particularly popular among children and teens – is very troubling,” the letter states.
The letter includes four questions that seek information on such postings as well as Google’s actions to remove the videos, specifically the apparent removal of a large number of videos following a June article in USA Today that detailed the video revenue sharing issue.
“It is our sincere hope to work collaboratively with you to find an agreeable solution to the concerns set forth in this letter,” the AGs wrote. “Nevertheless, we feel that you should know at the outset that we take these issues very seriously and are prepared to take appropriate action to safeguard our citizens.”
The letter sets a deadline of 30 days for Google to respond.