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Youtube Rego Korosi via Flickr CC

The UK government has removed its ads from YouTube out of concerns they were appearing alongside "inappropriate" material. The Guardian, Channel 4, and the BBC have followed suit. According to the BBC, the government made the move after ads had been attached to extremist content, potentially putting money in the pockets of extremists. The suspension is temporary, and Google (which owns YouTube) has said it will review its controls.

Context: Google has faced increased pressure to take ownership of the types of content that appears next to its ads, and it has been actively going after bad ads and hate sites for a while. Recall, in 2016 Google punished 340 sites and banned 200 permanently. Google told Axios in January that it has a team of over 1000 people regulating bad ads. But its scale makes it difficult to effectively regulate everything across its platform.

This is a trend: Executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the UK Commons Home Affairs Committee and were told they had a "terrible reputation" for monitoring their content given their revenues.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"