Google advertising row extended across US brands

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At least four giant US firms have gained millions of dollars in advertising from Google’s platform amid rows over extremist content.

According to The Times, the telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon, car rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical firm GSK, have pulled out all non-search advertising.

The newspaper investigation has found that popular brands were seen next to YouTube videos promoting extremist views and acting as a source of revenue for the creators.

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Google has apologized and promised better tools for advertisers.

Inspite of the company’s efforts to contain the row, which started in the UK at the beginning of this week, it seems to have now captured the attention of the US advertising industry and creating a big issue for Google as it seeks to reassure brands their ad spend is not funding hate groups.

The Times reported that Verizon’s advertisements were seen alongside videos made by Wagdi Ghoneim, an Egyptian cleric who was prohibited from the US over extremism and Hanif Qureshi, whose preachings inspired the assassination of a Pakistani politician.

Elevating the bar

We are concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content encouraging terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Now the Google can ensure that this won’t takes place again as we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

The investigation which was carried out in the UK allowed more than 250 brands to pull their advertising. According to a blog post published on Monday, the company’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler declared that the company was spreading out its policies on hate speech to consider videos targeting vulnerable groups.

Google is the giant player in online advertising and ads are the biggest source of income for the company. In the year 2016, Google generated $80bn in ad revenue contributing to about 90% of the company’s annual income.

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