Google to hire more people to police ads on 'questionable' websites

Posted March 22, 2017

It follows a United Kingdom government decision to remove its adverts from YouTube - which is owned by Google - after it emerged they had appeared alongside content from supporters of extremist groups, the BBC reported.

In the blog post published today, Philipp Schindler, Google's chief business officer, said the company will more aggressively police content that targets or harasses people "based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories".

Google has issued a public apology after a series of high-profile brands and the United Kingdom government pulled adverts from appearing on Google and its video site YouTube.

Schindler said Google acknowledged that companies have brand guidelines which dictate where and when they want their ads to appear, and that it wants to give them more control to do that.

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

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.

A boycott by firms anxious about damaging their image could cause serious harm to Google as advertising makes up the overwhelming majority of the internet giant's revenue.

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Google issued an apology on Monday after it transpired that advertisements for major United Kingdom companies and the government had been shown before offensive content on YouTube.

Google's ad boycott in the United Kingdom - which accounted for $7.8 billion (£6.3 billion), or nearly 9%, of owner Alphabet's sales previous year - has been picked up by analysts worldwide.

Second, the company is promising better controls for advertisers to choose where their money goes, and to prevent accidentally spending it on hateful content.

"We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn't align with their values". Some ad buyers had voiced that their ads appeared next to videos carrying homophobic or terroristic videos on YouTube.

Around 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, according to Google.

As Marketing Land has reported, the Google Display Network includes many extremist sites propagating right- and left-wing ideologies, hoaxes and misinformation.

L'Oreal, the cosmetics brand, said it was unaware that ads it was running in connection with the Prince's Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles that helps train disadvantaged young people for work, were appearing on YouTube channels associated with extremists. "It is unacceptable that Google is allowing our ads to be placed alongside these videos on YouTube", the company said in an e-mailed statement.