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Google apologizes after displaying ads next to offensive content on YouTube, promises to review policies

EPA / SEDAT SUNA

Google has apologized to companies that advertise on the platform after their ads were displayed next to offensive and extremist videos on YouTube.

“We’re sorry to anybody that’s been affected,” Google’s European operations head, Matt Brittin said and he promised the internet company will improve their tools to avoid such situations in the future and allow advertisers more choice where their commercials appear.

When ads appear on a video, the poster can earn money from it when it gets a significant number of clicks. This means companies including HSBC, Audi, RBS, L’Oreal and Marks & Spencer, as well as the UK government, whose ads were displayed alongside offensive videos, unwillingly helped supporters of extremism generate an income.

In a blog post published today, the company’s chief business officer, Philipp Schindler confirmed Google has started strengthening its ad policies and introducing new tools for advertisers.

“We believe the combination of these new policies and controls will significantly strengthen our ability to help advertisers reach audiences at scale, while respecting their values,” Philipp Schindler, Chief Business Officer at Google

According to Schindler, from now on the firm will “take a tougher stance” on questionable content by removing ads “more effectively” from discriminatory and hateful videos. The company said it will not only provide advertisers with more options to choose where their ads will be displayed, but also allow them “more transparency and visibility” thus enabling them to see where their ads are shown.

Google also intends to review the YoutTube community guidelines “to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.”

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