Google apologises to ad clients for YouTube content fiasco

21 March, 2017, 08:07 | Author: Benny Bass

Australian advertisers will closely analyse a United Kingdom boycott of Google ads, as major brands, including the United Kingdom government, pull ads from the technology giant after they were placed alongside undesirable content, such as extremist material and hate speech.

Google talked about the fears at European Advertiser Week on Monday, mentioning the company would work on policies to discover content advertisers supposed "safe", enhance advertiser controls and work quicker to eradicate content that defied its policies.

French multinational advertising company Havas has chose to pull its entire Google and YouTube ad spend in the United Kingdom, as the placement of ads next to offensive content continues to be an issue.

The Government has already suspended its advertising on YouTube after some public sector ads appeared next to videos carrying homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.

For background, there was an outcry last week as some ad buyers said their ads were placed alongside terrorist videos on Google's YouTube network.

As a result of this discovery, research analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal downgraded Google stock from buy to hold today, saying that the company faced "a serious issue in the United Kingdom with brand safety issues", which could ultimately have "global repercussions".

Despite having apologised for the problem, which has also seen the United Kingdom government halt part of its £60 million annual digital advertising budget, Google have as yet been able to rectify the problem. "Because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate filled content from YouTube".

"I would like to apologise to our partners and advertisers who might have been affected by their ads appearing on controversial content", Brittin said at the Advertising Week Europe conference, according to the BBC.

"We are not aware of any issue with our ads to date, but we take this issue extremely seriously and are suspending all advertising until they fix this". According to The Independent, banks have joined other multinational companies in the United Kingdom to pull ads from Google over hate preachers.

A spokeswoman for Google UK said it would look again at the way it defines incendiary commentary and hate speech to raise the bar on videos and sites allowed for advertising.

The Cabinet Office spokesperson added that Google has been summoned for discussions to explain how it will deliver "the high quality of service government demands on behalf of the taxpayer".

WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrel pointed out that Google and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) should practice standards similar to traditional media companies. "We will make changes to our policies and brand controls for advertisers".

He said the company was working on ways to improve its ad placement system, saying: "Clearly we need to do more on that".


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