April 24, 2017

United Kingdom government suspends ads amid extremism concerns — YouTube

22 March 2017, 12:47 | Muriel Sparks

Image Caption Go Ape has withdrawn its ads from YouTube

Go Ape has withdrawn its ads from YouTube

Added by Agency Staff on 20 March 2017.

Matthew Brittin, Google's European chief, has apologised to brands and agencies following recent incidents when adverts from major companies and government agencies appeared next to extremist content on YouTube as a result of programmatic sales.

"This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites" said Google's Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler.

Havas becomes the first of the global marketing groups to pull all its United Kingdom ad spend from Google/YT. It may not quell the controversy: A British politician has said Google is "profiting from hatred".

"The Havas Group will not be undertaking such measures on a global basis", a Havas spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.

"I think the best way to do negotiations with any supplier is one on one and in private, and so you won't find us coming out and making big public statements about particular customers".

The issue started when several large organizations pulled advertising from Google and YouTube when their spots were attached to videos featuring extremist material, including a video from former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke.

According to Reuters, Britain is the largest market for Alphabet's Google outside the U.S., generating $7.8bn largely from advertising in 2016, or almost 9 per cent of the company's global revenue. The U.K. government also placed a restriction on its ads, as did auto giant Hyundai.

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While the advertiser boycott of YouTube has largely been limited to the United Kingdom and Germany, Brittin confirmed that conversations were happening with "global players" too, and that a comprehensive review of Google and YouTube's policies was underway.

"We accept that we don't always get it right, and that sometimes, ads appear where they should not".

For that matter, Google confirmed in increasing the strength of employees to monitor and speed up the process of deleting ads from all the videos that are hateful and offensive to the audience and their advertising partners.

The most interesting of the changes made by Google to its ads policies as they affect online content is that which gives advertisers control over where to place ads.

Finally, advertisers will be offered "more transparency and visibility on where their ads are running".

The British government put its YouTube advertising on hold on Monday, saying "it is totally unacceptable that taxpayer-funded advertising has appeared next to inappropriate internet content - and that message was conveyed very clearly to Google". We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended.

This comes after Google came under fire when its highest-grossing YouTube entertainer included Nazi imagery on his videos. It said it was seeking "urgent assurances" from Google that the problems were being addressed. This would mean that advertisers working with Google are indirectly and unknowingly funding terrorism and extremism through their ads. This is due to instances of advertising appearing alongside potentially harmful content, such as videos from supporters of extremist groups and tutorials on how to tie a noose.

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