Major Global Companies Pull Advertising From Google

By Meshach M.

On February 9, 2017, the Times Newspapers (a British publication) published an article showing that ads on  YouTube, owned by Google, were displaying on videos for Islamic extremists, other hate speech, and offensive content without consent of their advertising firms.  On March 17, the UK government pulled all ads from Google along with the popular British news source The Guardian.  On the same date, Ronan Harris, the Managing Director of Google UK, published a blog post outlining Google’s ad policy and explained what had happened. He outlined that the company invests millions of dollars every year to insure that advertisers are not paired offensive content, but because there is so much content, there is a possibility of error.

On March 22, AT&T and Verizon pulled their advertising from YouTube and do not wish to return until they can be sure that their ads will not be paired with offensive content.  However, both companies will still be hosting ads on the Google search engine.  On March 23, Procter and Gamble, Toyota, and Volkswagen pulled all advertising from Youtube.  According to an article published in the New York Times on March 24, Walmart, Pepsico, and Starbucks have all pulled advertising as well.

As of March 2017, four hundred hours of video are uploaded every minute to Youtube. Through Google’s efforts in 2016, they were able to remove 1.7 billion illegal or misleading ads from their system, 100,000 publishers from receiving ads because they promoted offensive content, and prevented ads from appearing on over 300 million YouTube videos.  However, they still see that there is room for improvement and they are already working to “…tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators…”  They are also expanding their team of software developers to increase accessibility for advertisers so that ads appearing on questionable content can be easily resolved.  This will give advertisers further control over which videos on their ads appear.

Google had promoted freedom of speech since its’ beginning but does not wish to be promoting content that is hateful, offensive, or gory.  According to a statement published of Philipp Schindler, the Chief Business Officer, “…there’s nothing more important to Google than the trust we’ve built amongst our users, advertisers, creators and publishers. Brand safety is an ongoing commitment for us, and we’ll continue to listen to your feedback”.

Work Cited

“YouTube: UK government suspends ads amid extremism concerns,” BBC, March 17, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39301712.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, “More Big Brands Pull Ads From YouTube in Widening Boycott,” The New York Times, March 24, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/03/24/business/ap-us-google-youtube-ad-boycott.html?_r=0.

Mark Bergen and Joe Mayes, “Google Ad Crisis Spreads as Biggest Marketers Halt Spending” Bloomberg, March 22, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-22/at-t-halts-spending-on-some-google-ads-after-youtube-controversy.

Jamie Grierson, Alexandra Topping and Mark Sweney, “French advertising giant pulls out of Google and YouTube,” The Guardian, March 17, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/mar/17/google-pledges-more-control-for-brands-over-ad-placement#img-1.

Ronan Haris, “Improving our brand safety controls,” Google, March 17, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://blog.google/topics/google-europe/improving-our-brand-safety-controls/.

Steve Kovach, “AT&T and Verizon pull ads from Google over extremist videos,” Business Insider, March 22, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/att-pulls-ads-from-google-and-youtube-2017-3.

Alexi Mostrous, “Big brands fund terror through online adverts,” The Times, February 9, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/big-brands-fund-terror-knnxfgb98.

Alexi Mostrous, “Top brands pull Google adverts in protest at hate video links” The Times, March 23, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/top-brands-pull-google-adverts-in-protest-at-links-with-hate-videos-5f5sfrcjw?ni-statuscode=acsaz-307.

Philipp Schindler, “Expanding safeguards for advirtisers,” Google, March 21, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://blog.google/topics/ads/expanded-safeguards-for-advertisers/.

Scot Spencer, “How we fought bad ads, sites and scammers in 2016,” Google, January 25, 2017, accessed March 31, 2017, https://blog.google/topics/ads/how-we-fought-bad-ads-sites-and-scammers-2016/.

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