When advertisers place ads on real radio stations they know what they’re getting. Responsible broadcasters airing respectable content. When advertisers allow algorithms to choose where to put their ads on Internet radio, they really have no idea where they may land. And sometimes that’s a very bad thing.
And according to BuzzFeed, major brands such as McDonald’s, Lyft, and Kaiser Permanente have pulled ads from Internet radio because they were airing on shows hosted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis. BuzzFeed reports that the companies were unaware their aids were running on racist Internet radio shows via algorithms without direct human oversight.
BuzzFeed reports that on October 31, an ad for Kaiser Permanente’s cardiology division aired on TuneIn before a station called Radio Aryan began with the line: “You can’t fix the crime problem without addressing the black problem, and you can’t fix the culture problem without addressing the Jew problem.” On that same station, a McDonald’s ad played before the host praised Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Kaiser Permanente tells BuzzFeed the company has canceled advertising with TuneIn while it investigates what happened. McDonald’s also removed its ads from the channel.
In addition to Radio Aryan, TuneIn had been hosting Black Sun Radio, a neo-Nazi music station where Kaiser Permanente ads aired multiple times in October and November. TuneIn removed the station following an inquiry from BuzzFeed News.