Major brands including Verizon and Walmart pulled their ads after they were found to be appearing next to videos promoting extremist views or hate speech
It’s been a bad week for Google, with major brands pulling millions of dollars in advertising amid rows over extremist content on YouTube.
In America, telecom companies AT&T and Verizon, as well as pharmaceutical company GSK, Pepsi, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and car rental firm Enterprise, have all pulled advertising from Google’s video sharing platform, a contagion spreading from Europe where a number of high-profile advertisers pulled out of YouTube following an investigation by the Times.
Major brands were found to be appearing next to videos promoting extremist views or hate speech, with a cut of the advertising spend going to the creators – the row has now spilled across the Atlantic to the US.
Verizon’s ads featured alongside videos made by Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim, who was banned from the US over extremism and hate preacher Hanif Qureshi, whose preachings inspired the murder of a politician in Pakistan.
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” an AT&T spokesman said in a statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”
Following the exodus of some of its high-profile advertisers, Google has publicly apologized and pledged to give brands more control over where their ads appear.