TOP brands are “funding” terrorism by unknowingly advertising on jihadi videos, it was claimed last night.
Advertising for the firms is appearing on YouTube videos containing jihadi material, as well as ones containing pornographic and extreme right content.
One ad by car firm Mercedes was on a pro-ISIS video on YouTube that was viewed 115,000 times, The Times reported.
The ad – a banner that stretches across the lower half of the screen – appears on a pro-ISIS video that features a song about jihad and shows the black ISIS flag and anti-aircraft guns.
Argos ads were spotted on sexually explicit videos and a Marie Curie advert was seen on a video about pro-Nazi group Combat 18.
An advert appearing alongside a YouTube video usually earns whoever uploaded the video around £6 per 1,000 views, the paper reported.
Those posting on YouTube can make cash by clicking a button that says “monetise my video” and choosing which ads to run.
Advertisers pay if someone clicks on the ad or watches for more than 30 seconds.
Extremists can make thousands of pounds a month – without advertisers knowing where ads are being shown.
The advertisers said they were “deeply concerned” but denied any wrongdoing.
A video promoting luxury holiday operator Sandals Resorts appeared next to a video for Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliated group active in Somalia.
The company claimed Google had not properly categorised the video as sensitive.
Adverts for Honda, Thomson Reuters, Halifax, Liverpool University and Waitrose also appear on videos posted on YouTube contained extremist content.
A spokesperson added that advertisers could choose not to appear next to content they considered inappropriate.
Many of the extremist videos have been taken down since they were flagged up to the company by The Times.
Several brands said they were “deeply concerned” by the appearance of their ads next to extremist videos.
Others accused advertising agencies of not acting in their best interests by using a system known as “programmatic advertising”.
This uses internet history browsing to track internet users’ viewing habits and tailor ads to them accordingly.