Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Discovery That Hate Groups Are Profiting From Google Leads To Boycott

At least four major U.S. firms have pulled millions of dollars in advertising from Google’s platform after it was revealed that their ads were appearing next to extremist content.

An investigation by the Times found major brands were appearing next to YouTube videos promoting extremist views - generating revenues for the creators. 
The initial investigation led more than 250 British brands to pull their advertising.

Despite Google’s efforts to contain the controversy, it appears to have now caught the attention of the U.S. advertising industry - creating a huge problem for Google as it seeks to reassure brands their ad spend is not funding hate groups.

The Times is reporting that AT&T and Verizon, as well as car rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical giant GSK, have withdrawn all non-search advertising.

The company has apologized and promised better tools for advertisers.

According to The Times, Verizon’s advertisements were appearing along side videos made by Wagdi Ghoneim, an Egyptian cleric who had been banned from the U.S. over extremism, and Hanif Qureshi, whose teachings inspired the assassination of a Pakistani politician.

“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement.  "Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

In response to the latest boycott, Google said: “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.”

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