It would seem that more and more brand are pulling their ads from YouTube and Google display ad network over extremist content concerns where their ads would appear next to. Following several UK entities, telecoms Verizon and AT&T, car rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical giant GSK have all pulled ad buys from YouTube in response to an investigation by The Times.
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate. Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.
It was said that the British government and over 250 organizations weren’t going to be advertising on YouTube anymore until they were able to receive guarantees that their ads wouldn’t appear along side extremist videos. Google had been summoned by the British government to address the British Cabinet Office about advertiser concerns.
Google announced that they are taking added measures to ensure brand safety in regard to inappropriate content on its ad networks.
According to Google’s chief business offer, Phillipp Schindler, the company is “taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.”
This response seems to have been a been a long time coming.
According to the Times, ads from US advertisers continued to run on an extremist’s YouTube page even after being disabled for UK brands.
“We don’t comment on individual videos but as announced, we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear. We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
For additional context, see our past coverage: Google isn’t actually tackling ‘fake news’ content on its ad network and Brand safety: Avoiding fake & hyperpartisan news on the Google Display Network.
It’s worth reading the entire The Times coverage as well.