Google vows to crackdown on 'hateful' content after Brit brand boycott

Posted March 22, 2017

Thus, with the primary aim of fixing the same, the first step from Google involves taking a harsher stance against "hateful, offensive and derogatory content" on the platform accessing their ads network.

Major brands abandoned the video sharing website YouTube, a Google property, after their ads was situated adjacent to what Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler called "questionable content".

However, Brittin said Google was looking at better defining hate speech and inflammatory content, simplifying controls available to advertisers.

Brands including HSBC, UK retailer Marks and Spencer and L'Oreal have pulled advertising from YouTube over the past few days, while agency group Havas has paused ads from UK clients including Domino's Pizza and Hyundai Kia pending discussions with Google.

"Google's stated intent and direction are very welcome - however, advertisers will want to see concrete evidence that their brands can not appear against inappropriate content", said Phil Smith, director general of ISBA, the advertising trade group with members stretching from Centrica to BT and Heineken.

The decision to pull ads from Google followed a Times of London investigation that revealed ads from many large companies and the United Kingdom government appeared alongside content from the likes of white nationalist David Duke and pastor Steven Anderson, who praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub.

The British government also suspended its advertising campaigns on YouTube after some of its advertisements landed on videos that contained offensive material, including homophobic and anti-semitic content.

The UK Government has made a decision to remove all of their advertising from YouTube.

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A top Google executive apologised after United Kingdom company and government adverts appeared alongside extremist content on its Internet platforms.

Britain is Google's largest market outside the USA, generating US$7.8 billion a year ago mainly from advertising, or almost 9 percent of global revenue.

To that end, it's hiring people - regular, human people, with feelings and eyes - to help police the thousands of hours of content uploaded to YouTube every day and make sure anything dodgy, or flagged as dodgy, is pulled long before adverts for big brands make their uploaders any money.

The BBC, The Guardian and Channel 4 have also withdrawn advertising on all Google platforms for this reason.

"The Cabinet Office has told Google it expects to see a plan and a timetable for work to improve protection of government adverts to ensure this doesn't happen again".

Brittin was given three chances to state Google would actively seek out extremist content rather than exclusively investigating users' flagging inappropriate material like the YouTube videos, but declined to go that far with the apology and statement. These changes will be powered by a "significant" number of new hires, Schindler says, as well as Google's latest developments in A.I. and machine learning.

Unspecified new ways for brands to "fine-tune" where they want ads to appear.

At the annual Advertising Week Europe event in London on Monday, Google's president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Matt Brittin apologised to companies affected by adverts appearing on controversial content.