M&S pulls Google ads for fear of appearing next to extremists

When reached out to by Marketing, a spokesperson from Havas APAC said, "The decision of our United Kingdom team to pause activity with our partner Google is a temporary move made on behalf of our United Kingdom clients and their specific needs".

Google has taken a beating the past week for letting ads appear next to extremist content, but the world's second-largest advertiser is unfazed.

Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group said that concerns over brand safety on YouTube, where ads were recently seen running alongside terrorist-inspired videos, would have a chilling effect on the site's revenue.

According to the emerging media reports, Waitrose, Barclays, Vodafone and Sky are also considering to suspend their marketing on YouTube following concerns that the adverts are inadvertently funding terror groups.

Sky News understands that the company apologised to senior civil servants representing the Government and pledged a review of their advertising systems. Other companies include McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), L'Oreal, Audi (ETR:NSU), the BBC, the Guardian and Channel 4.

The rise of problematic programmatic is an issue many media agencies have had to deal with in recent years.

It is the attitude it takes towards YouTube, which is owned by Google, that will make the greatest impact.

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"In the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended, protecting users and advertisers from harmful or inappropriate content", Google stated.

Last week the committee summoned bosses from Google, Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) and Twitter (Frankfurt: A1W6XZ - news), to question them about the action the web giants were taking to remove hate speech from their platforms.

Google has issued a public apology to major advertisers after their spots were featured alongside content from hate preachers and other extremists.

He said: "When the internet was founded, it was all about doing away with the gatekeeper". Brands like Marks & Spencer, McDonald's United Kingdom, and Lloyds are namely the few brands who have stopped advertising their products on Google-owned sites.

"We are sorry to hear of anybody that's been affected, we are working hard to improve policy, controls and enforcement, there will be more specifics very soon, and we are working on that with the industry".

Google reps have admitted they "don't always get it right."

Weed said the controversy is a giant distraction from more pressing issues for brands in 2017.

  • Sonia Alvarado