Two major US companies have pulled their advertisements from YouTube after discovering their ads may have appeared next to horrible, offensive content.
As was first reported by Variety, AT&T and Verizon are no longer advertising on Google’s video platform, at least for the time being.
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement to PCMag. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”
Verizon, meanwhile, has pulled its ads from both YouTube and Google’s “non-search ad networks,” Variety reported. Verizon in its statement to PCMag didn’t mention Google by name, but alluded to the controversy.
“We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively,” Verizon wrote. “Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”
AT&T and Verizon are following the lead of the British government, which recently pulled millions of dollars worth of advertising from YouTube after an investigation by The Times of London found that the government’s ads were showing up alongside videos from “rape apologists, anti-Semites, and banned hate preachers.”
Google last week pledged to more closely monitor advertisements that appear alongside YouTube videos, and give brands more control over where their ads appear. The company this week took the first steps to make good on that pledge, promising to “more effectively” remove ads from content that is “attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories.” The Web giant said it plans to introduce new tools in the coming days and months to help advertisers more easily manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the Web.
In a statement to PCMag, Google declined to comment on AT&T and Verizon’s decisions to pull their ads from YouTube, but reiterated its promise to correct the problem.
“We don’t comment on individual customers but as announced, we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear,” a Google spokesperson wrote. “We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands.”