Published: Wed, March 22, 2017
Technology | By Ramiro Moody

Google sorry for adverts alongside extremist content

In the United Kingdom, a committee of MPs has meanwhile demanded that Google explain how government adverts have appeared on "inappropriate and hate-filled sites" and whether the government and advertisers will be refunded payments made to the U.S. tech giant.

And, amid charges it has not done enough to curtail hate speech on its services, Google broadened its definition to include content that harasses or attacks people based on race, religion, gender or other "similar" categories.

Google, which has seen a slew of companies withdraw ads after they appeared alongside extremist content, said on Tuesday, March 21, it was introducing new tools to give firms greater control.

The issue started when several large organizations pulled advertising from Google and YouTube when their spots were attached to videos featuring extremist material, including a video from former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke. It has now made a decision to take control and will apply the same tactics to YouTube as well - where it will entirely remove content from the platform if it violates its updated policies.

Marc Goldberg, CEO of the ad safety vendor Trust Metrics, said Monday that the United Kingdom boycott of Google ads could signal an important shift in the industry, as brands demand stronger safety protections from companies like Facebook and Google. The Guardian, the BBC, and the United Kingdom government are among those to have withdrawn advertising from Google and YouTube, and the company has been battling to get companies back on side. The U.K. generated $7.8 billion in 2016 sales for Google parent company Alphabet.

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About 400 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, Brittin said, claiming that 98 per cent of "removals" happen within 24 hours and adding that it will be looking at its policies, controls and how those are enforced.

Google also said an "escalation path" would be created so advertisers could quickly raise issues. But at times we don't get it right.

"Google is responsible for ensuring the high standards applied to government advertising are adhered to and that adverts do not appear alongside inappropriate content", the United Kingdom government said in an e-mailed statement.

Google said in a statement that it has "strict guidelines" that define where ads should appear.

L'Oreal, the cosmetics brand, said it was unaware that ads it was running in connection with the Prince's Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles that helps train disadvantaged young people for work, were appearing on YouTube channels associated with extremists. These changes will be powered by a "significant" number of new hires, Schindler says, as well as Google's latest developments in A.I. and machine learning.

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