The Guardian cuts online ad ties with Google amidst brand safety concerns

In an unprecedented move, Vietnam has called on all companies doing business in the country to stop advertising on Facebook, YouTube and other social media networks in an attempt to combat what they call "toxic" anti-government media.

A government spokeswoman said it had placed a temporary restriction on YouTube advertising pending assurance.

Adverts for big names including Mercedes-Benz, Waitrose and Marie Curie were featured before videos uploaded by ISIS supporters and other terrorist sympathisers, the investigation found.

He said the Guardian would be withdrawing its advertising until Google can provide guarantees that this ad misplacement via Google and YouTube will not happen in the future.

Analysis by The Times showed that blacklists which are created to prevent digital adverts from popping up next to extremist content, are not working.

The online advertising giant was summoned to appear before the United Kingdom government on Thursday after it found ads for taxpayer-funded bodies - such as the BBC, The Royal Air Force, and The Royal Navy - had been positioned next to "extremist" YouTube videos.

The government joins a growing number of brands suspending their advertising from YouTube - and in some cases all of Google's advertising services - after they found their brands were unwittingly appearing next to inappropriate content.

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Google said in a statement it worked hard to remove ads from appearing on pages or videos with "hate speech, gory or offensive content" and said it had launched a review to give brands more control over where their ads appeared.

The advertising giant said it had taken the decision on behalf of its United Kingdom clients which include O2, Royal Mail, the BBC and Dominos. Despite this, Harris wrote in the blog post, "we don't always get it right".

According to a report in The Guardian, the French advertising giant's decision came after talks broke down related to Google's inability to "provide specific reassurances" related to where video and display ads appear.

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

Marketing Land has reported on numerous examples of brand advertisements bought and sold through Google appearing on extremist and hyper-partisan sites that are part of Google's ad networks, both through audience targeting and retargeting efforts in the US.

The government said Google has so far removed a total of 16 videos at its request. After facing the wrath of British MPs earlier this week, who accused the firm of accusing the firm of making money from "videos peddling hate", the government has announced plans to place a "temporarily hold" on its YouTube adverts - including for military recruitment and blood donations - amid concerns that they are appearing alongside extremist material.

"Therefore there is a massive responsibility not just on Google, but on all adtech companies to help fix this", he said.

  • Delia Davidson