Major brands are pulling their advertisements from Google’s websites due to the company’s failure to tackle hate speech and extremism on YouTube.
Brands have removed their ads from YouTube — which is owned by Google — after learning that their commercials were appearing next to videos promoting Islamic terrorism, white supremacy and other forms of violent bigotry. Since ads allow content creators to profit off of their videos, these ads were directly funding hate.
An expert reported in The Guardian estimated that YouTube extremists and hate preachers made over $318,000 from ads for household brands and government departments.
Understandably, the companies (and their customers) weren’t happy about this. They started withdrawing their sponsorship. French advertising group Havas was the first to pull out. Many other brands have followed or are still considering it, including McDonald’s, L’Oréal, Volkwagen, Toyota, the BBC and Heinz. Alexi Mostrous of The Times reports over 250 companies have yanked their ads.
Matt Brittin, Google’s European chief has offered an apology, saying, “I take the issue very seriously and I apologize in the instances where that may have happened.”
In a recent blog post, Google promised to “take a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content” and “toughen safeguards.”