Liverpool University are funding terror
The university has been unwittingly paying extremists’ supporters through online advertising
The University of Liverpool has unwittingly funded a violent pro-Nazi faction called Combat 18, after their advertisements appeared on hate sites and YouTube videos posted by supporters of groups that included the far-right faction.
In an investigation published today, The Times revealed that hundreds of large companies and charities including Mercedes-Benz, Waitrose and Marie Curie were involved in accidentally funding groups that included Islamic State. Liverpool was the only university involved in the funding.
The adverts were likely to generate tens of thousands of pounds a month for the extremists, with a Youtube advert typically earning $7.60 for every 1,000 views. The more popular videos had more than one million views.
Companies involved have accused big advertising companies, who place commercials on behalf of clients, of pushing brands into online advertising to boost profits. Many companies told The Times that they were unaware of their presence on such sites and videos, and blamed programmatic computer technology which buys digital adverts in the time it takes a webpage to load.
A spokesman for the University of Liverpool said: “We promote a range of online learning programmes around the world and use an agency to place adverts on the web.
“We were extremely concerned to learn that some had appeared alongside content from organisations whose messages we would strongly condemn and in no way wish to be associated with.
“The adverts in question have been placed by software that automatically determines where and when they appear, rather than being purposefully targeted at those particular websites.
“At our request the agency has immediately reviewed the filters used to exclude websites from carrying our adverts and we will be taking further steps to avoid any content that clashes with the university’s overall ethos and commitment to equality.”