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"We deeply apologize": Google bows to advertiser pressure with new hate controls

22 March 2017

Google apologized for a number of cases where brands' ads appeared next to content not aligned with their values in a blog post today from Philipp Schindler, chief business officer.

A report by the Times uncovered the issue with Google's advertising tool that placed United Kingdom government and brand ads on extremist YouTube videos and websites.

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe, Google's president of business and operations for EMEA, Matt Brittin, discussed how the company would attempt to solve advertisers concerns that their ads had been running alongside inappropriate video content.

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.

The company also noted that it would make a hiring push and try to advance its technology to keep the issue at bay.

"In the coming days and months, we're introducing new tools for advertisers to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web", said Schindler.

The BBC, The Guardian and Channel 4 have also withdrawn advertising on all Google platforms for this reason.

For that matter, Google confirmed in increasing the strength of employees to monitor and speed up the process of deleting ads from all the videos that are hateful and offensive to the audience and their advertising partners.

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"Google needs to convey more clearly that their goal is zero tolerance for brand unsafe environments when they place ads".

Besides well-known British brands pulling the plug, some of the world's biggest advertising companies responsible for placing vast amounts of marketing material for clients, said they were reviewing how they worked with Google.

Outside of the U.S., Britain is Google's largest market for advertising revenues. Google has said it does not always "get it right" and will improve.

About 400 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, Brittin said, claiming that 98 per cent of "removals" happen within 24 hours and adding that it will be looking at its policies, controls and how those are enforced.

Facebook and Twitter are seeing similar backlash, especially in Germany, where a proposed law would fine these companies for failing to promptly remove hate speech, fake news and inappropriate content.

British supermarket chain J Sainsbury, whose ads appeared on videos posted by the white nationalist Polish Defence League, said it and its sister brand Argos would immediately suspend all Google advertising.

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

This comes after Google came under fire when its highest-grossing YouTube entertainer included Nazi imagery on his videos.