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United Kingdom govt halts YouTube advertising over extremism funding concerns

20 March 2017, 02:19 | Taylor George

Getty Image

Getty Image

Michael Roth, CEO of Interpublic Group (IPG), said the advertising agency holding wasn't ruling out freezing its spend with Google if it didn't fix the issue of ads appearing next to extremist content.

The French advertising and media company had announced that its clients in the United Kingdom, including Domino's Pizza and Hyundai, would temporarily boycott Google after a number of ads were placed next to content promoting extremism and hate speech.

Speaking on a panel discussion at Advertising Week Europe in London on Monday, Roth said: "We did have one or two clients that had [ads appearing in inappropriate slots on Google platforms] and we discussed it with Google".

It follows a recent investigation by the Times, which found adverts from a range of well-known firms and organisations had appeared alongside content from supporters of extremist groups on the YouTube video site. Major advertisers have pulled business from the internet search engine in the past week, with Sky, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland becoming the latest to suspend their ads.

"Our position will remain until we are confident in the YouTube platform and Google Display Network's ability to deliver the standards we and our clients expect", he further added.

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A recent investigation by the Times showed that United Kingdom advertisements, from the likes of Sainsbury's, RBS and the United Kingdom government, have been posted on YouTube videos uploaded by extremists, as well as on websites belonging to terrorist groups.

A spokesperson from Google said last week that the firm is "committed to doing better", but this morning the tech giant appeared to shift blame onto the companies hit by the advertising scandal.

Google has responded, saying that its policies work as intended "in the vast majority of cases, protecting users and advertisers from harmful or inappropriate content".

David Pemsel, the media group's chief executive, said the mistake was "completely unacceptable".



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