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AT&T, Verizon and others pull YouTube and Google ads over hate speech concerns

The companies have become concerned that their ads are being placed alongside controversial videos and websites.

Published onMarch 23, 2017

AT&T and Verizon have followed the likes of McDonald’s, Audi and many other companies to remove their YouTube and Google advertising in the wake of increasing concerns over hate speech.

Companies began pulling Google advertising last week after English newspaper The Times wrote a piece concerning the ads that appear before YouTube videos.

Google’s ads service has been indiscriminately placing commercials alongside videos and websites which contain extremist messages, and manufacturers are keen to prevent their brand from being linked to the harmful/hateful rhetoric.

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Google issued an apology on Tuesday regarding the ad placements and vowed to improve standards, but it appears that its apology hasn’t been enough to quell concerns of AT&T and Verizon.

Speaking to Recode, AT&T said: “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.”

Meanwhile, Verizon had this to say: “Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

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In a follow-up statement yesterday, Google reaffirmed its commitment to advertisers: “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.”

Google is going to have to provide some firm guarantees quickly if it wants to recover these partners, and stop others cancelling their ad deals.

What are your thoughts on the recent controversy? Let us know in the comments.

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