Google vows to change advertising policy following backlash from major brands

Google has announced it will change its advertising policies after several major brands pulled ads from the platform because they appeared alongside offensive content, such as videos promoting terrorism or anti-Semitism.

Google said in a blog post it would give advertisers more control over where their ads appear on both YouTube, the video-sharing service it owns, and the Google Display Network, which posts advertising to third-party websites and against search engine results.

The announcement came after the UK government and the Guardian newspaper stepped up pressure on YouTube to police content on its platform, pulling ads from the video site because they appeared beside clips they view as inappropriate.

The decision to pull ads from Google followed a Times of London investigation that revealed ads from many large companies and the UK 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.

Ronan Harris, Google’s UK managing director, said in the blog post that last year Google removed nearly two billion offensive ads from its platforms and also blacklisted 100,000 publishers from the company’s ad sense program.

Despite this, Harris wrote in the blog post, “we don’t always get it right”.

He said Google had “heard from our advertisers loud and clear that we can provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content.”

The company said it would be making changes in the coming weeks.


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