Science & Technology

Google apologizes for ads that pop up before extremist videos on YouTube

The world’s largest advertising agency has loaded pressure on Google by telling it to apologise to customers and advertisers who saw inappropriate content on YouTube, Sky News has learned.

Mr Schindler on Tuesday said that Google is changing the default settings for where adverts appear “so that they show on content that meets a higher level of brand safety and excludes potentially objectionable content that advertisers may prefer not to advertise against”. On Monday, Marks Spencer Group PLC became the latest company to suspend its advertising from Google.

Havas, a major European marketing firm, recently said it would pull its clients’ ads from YouTube and the Google Display Network in the United Kingdom after ads began running next to “questionable” content, including videos supporting terrorism.

He added that the cabinet expects “a timetable for work to improve protection of government adverts”, and in the meantime “YouTube advertizing remains on hold”.

The Government, along with commercial organisations including the Guardian and French advertising giant Havas, have already suspended advertising with Google.

In a statement on Monday, Matt Brittin, head of Google for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, apologised.

“This is a good opportunity for me to say sorry, this should not have happened, and we need to do better”, Britten said.

The issue was first raised in an investigation by The Times, which revealed that YouTube failed to remove videos featuring United States white nationalist David Duke and homophobic pastor Steven Anderson, as well as other hate speech figures, which allowed their uploaders earn advertising revenue.

He said the company would look into simplifying tools for advertisers as part of a solution.

Google offered another mea culpa in a blog post last Friday after the British government called a hearing with the company to determine why taxpayer-funded ads were found in such disturbing places.

“Sometimes, ads appear where they should not.”, admits a spokesperson.

He said WPP’s GroupM, a major ad buyer, was talking to Google “at the highest levels to encourage them to find answers to these brand safety issues”.

Weed said the controversy is a giant distraction from more pressing issues for brands in 2017.

At a briefing with journalists at the Advertising Week event, Brittin was quoted as saying: “There are brands who have reached out to us and are talking to our teams about whether they are affected or concerned by this”.


Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.


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