AT&T and Verizon are removing their ads from YouTube and other Google non-search platforms over concerns of being associated with materials promoting hateful speech and terrorism.
In the digital era, the online environment serves as a venue for all sorts of things, and not all of them are positive or harmless. There's been a rise in instances of spreading hate or terrorism messages online and companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, the Washington Post, Google and others have been trying to counter it, but it's an uphill battle.
Google recently introduced new advertising safeguards and promised new tools to pull ads from sexist, racist or otherwise offensive videos, but advertisers seem to be losing trust.
Several heavyweight brands including McDonald's, Lloyd's, BBC, along with various companies, have expressed concerns that Google is placing their ads on websites and videos promoting hateful and extremist views, and AT&T and Verizon are the latest ones to take matters into their own hands.
AT&T And Verizon Pulling Ads Off YouTube
Until Google does more to properly address this issue and give ad partners more control over where their advertisements are displayed, AT&T and Verizon have decided to pull their online ad campaigns off YouTube and other Google non-search platforms.
"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," said Verizon, as cited by Variety.
AT&T took a similar course of action and specifically named Google, explaining its decision to remove ads from YouTube.
"We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate. Until Google can ensure that this won't happen again, we are removing our ads from Google's non-search platforms," said AT&T.
Google Advertising Policies And Promises
This could deal a heavy blow to Google, which is still an advertising company to a large extent. It may have a slew of other projects such as Android, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and more, but it still relies heavily on advertising to keep the ball rolling.
Advertising accounts for the largest chunk of Google's revenue and any loss of advertising business, be it just temporary, is bound to take a toll. On the bright side, with AT&T, Verizon and other companies pulling their ads off YouTube, Google will likely speed up its efforts to counter extremist and hateful content on its platforms.
In a blog post on Tuesday, March 21, Google highlighted that it has strict policies in place for where ads should appear, but things don't always work out as intended. While its policies and tools are effective in most cases, there are still some instances where they fail.
"Recently, we had a number of cases where brands' ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values," said Google. "For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us."
Google further reiterated that it made a public pledge to implement changes for brands to have more control over their ad placements.