YouTube could be the next to get swept up in the massive advertising boycott that started earlier this month. This week, several big companies have pulled out their ads from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in support of a viral campaign against hate speech and misinformation.

Led by a coalition of civil rights group, the campaign called Stop Hate for Profit involves temporarily halting ad spending across social media platforms that fail to combat hate speech. Hundreds of big businesses have so far joined the cause, including Unilever, Adidas, Coca Cola, Ford, Starbucks, and Target.

While the campaign initially focused on Facebook, the dissent has quickly spread to affect other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Now, experts believe that YouTube, being a primary destination for brands, might just be the next to be hit by the campaign.

“It is likely that YouTube will become involved and can do very little to circumvent it,” said Tim Gibbon, director at communications consultancy Elemental. “Activists will want to remove bad actors from every platform, and rightly so. A safe bet is to say that they won’t want to stop at one platform when others play a role,” he added.

However, Gibbon also explained how the ad spend blackout could benefit YouTube once huge firms turn to it as an alternative to Facebook, Instagram, and the likes. This, he said, will only happen if YouTube executives ramp up efforts to fight hate on the platform.

“In 2019, YouTube generated $15 billion in ad revenue and in quarter one this year the ad revenue was $4 billion. Any boycott could be significant to YouTube’s ad revenue, especially if it’s sustained. Google will want to resolve any issues and ensure its relationships with brands and creators remain intact,” noted Gibbon.

Last month YouTube, made strides to combat hate speech by banning a series of white supremacist channels that repeatedly violate its rules on extremism. This week, the video platform demonetized three channels run by YouTuber Shane Dawson, which used racial slurs.

“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates them,” said a source from YouTube.

YouTube YouTube updates its mobile homepage. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson