Google apologizes for ads snafu, revamps policies

Google apologizes for ads snafu, revamps policies

Concerns over inappropriate content have risen despite Google coming off a year in 2016 when it "removed over 100,000 publishers from our AdSense program, and prevented ads from serving on over 300 million YouTube videos", as Google U.K. Managing Director Ronan Harris said last week.

"This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites" said Google's Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler.

Google vowed today to "tighten safeguards" to help advertisers avoid inadvertently financing "hateful, offensive and derogatory content".

Marks and Spencer became the latest big name brand in Britain to pull its advertising from Google on Monday.

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.

Ministers have summoned Google for talks at the Cabinet Office after imposing a temporary restriction on its own ads - including for military recruitment and blood donation campaigns - appearing on YouTube.

Brands that pulled ads from YouTube included Argos, the BBC, Dominos Pizza, the Guardian, Hyundai, Royal Mail and Sainsburys - as well as the United Kingdom government.

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Britain is the second largest market for Google after the USA, generating $7.8 billion primarily from advertising in 2016. Four hundred hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube, Google says, making it tough to police. While we have a wide variety of tools to give advertisers and agencies control over where their ads appear, such as topic exclusions and site category exclusions, we can do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content.

"Finally, we won't stop at taking down ads".

Google already provides such controls, but advertisers weren't using them perhaps because they were too complex, said Matt Brittin, Google's president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Following bitter complaints and withdrawal of ads from YouTube by several blue chip companies in the UK, Google has announced major shifts in policy.

A government spokesperson said March 20: "It is totally unacceptable that taxpayer-funded advertising has appeared next to inappropriate internet content - and that message was conveyed very clearly to Google".

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.

In response to these problems, on Monday, Google promised to improve its website's performance and to overhaul some of its policies. In addition, we'll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours. But the complexity of ad exchanges and a lack of oversight have made it harder for them to control where their ads appear.

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