YouTube responds to ad boycott by announcing new policies, enforcement measures & controls

The world's largest advertising agency has pressured Google to apologise for inappropriate content

The world's largest advertising agency has pressured Google to apologise for inappropriate content

The company, which had said it struggled to monitor the 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, said it would hire significantly more staff and speed up the process of removing ads from hateful and offensive content that attacks people based on their race, religion or gender.

The new policy, described in a blog post by Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler, follows snowballing complaints after The Times of London reported that computer algorithms had linked prominent advertisers' messages with neo-Nazi and jihadist content.

The inappropriate contents include videos from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the report stated. "That's why we've been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear".

Commons Home Affairs Committee chair Yvette Cooper said videos relating to National Action were still available on Google-run YouTube, despite Government requests to remove such content.

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The fact that that Marks & Spencer has joined the government and a clutch of other organisations in withdrawing their ads from Google's platforms means the search giant is facing a crisis of confidence in its ability to police its service.

The announcement comes after an investigation from The Times of Londonfound that ads from the United Kingdom government and some prominent companies were appearing alongside extremist YouTube videos, including clips that promoted white nationalism and homophobia.

"We accept that we don't always get it right, and that sometimes, ads appear where they should not".

In a statement on Monday, Matt Brittin, head of Google for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, apologised.

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"In the end, there's nothing more important to Google than the trust we've built amongst our users, advertisers, creators and publishers".

"Google is responsible for ensuring the high standards applied to government advertising are adhered to and that adverts do not appear alongside inappropriate content." a spokesperson for the government stated. Another update due "in the coming months" is the expansion of video-level reporting for all advertisers so they can have more transparency about where their ads ran.

"We have strict guidelines that define where Google ads should appear", a spokesman said.

Advertising firm WPP says it is working on damage control with Google and other clients. "We'll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours", Schindler wrote. To improve its capacity of reviewing non advertiser-friendly content, the firm also plans on hiring "significant numbers of people" and developing new tools powered by the latest advancements in artificial intelligence. It has been designing a new platform that will allow the advertisers and agencies to see where the adverts appear and what comes with them.

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