United Kingdom government, advertisers pull YouTube ads

Google UK and Ireland managing director Ronan

The fact that that Marks & Spencer has joined the government and a clutch of other organisations in withdrawing their ads from Google's platforms means the search giant is facing a crisis of confidence in its ability to police its service.

The company's first steps will be to review where and how ads are placed and a stronger enforcement of keeping inappropriate content off the site.

The chief executive of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, Sunita Gloster, said local brands wanted to be confident their ads would not end next to extremist or other undesirable content.

"I would like to apologize to our partners and advertisers who might have been affected by their ads appearing on controversial content", Google executive Matt Brittin said at an industry conference in London on Monday.

"Making the problem potentially worse if it is not fully solved", Mr. Wieser wrote, "Google faces a hostile industry of media owners in Europe (many of them owners of print properties which have been negatively impacted by Google's successes in recent years) and we expect they will be all too happy to highlight future brand safety failings, negatively impacting brands".

The industry body enocuraged Google to withdraw from sales any ad inventory "which it can not guarantee as a safe environment for advertising". These platforms, the authorities maintain, can and should do significantly more than they already are, whereas Google et al admit (partial) culpability and swear they'll try harder.

"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 emailed statement.

The association wants companies such as Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to break down the walls around their apps so advertisers are able to better understand where the ads they are paying for are being seen.

Dan Brooke, Channel 4's chief marketing and communications officer, said the channel is "extremely concerned" about its advertising being placed alongside offensive material on YouTube. "We need to improve and we will do".

Brittin said Google had made a commitment to doing better and would simplify advertiser controls, add safer defaults and increase investment to enforce its ad policies faster. The accusation is that Google is "profiting from hate" since it obviously gathers revenue from the ads shown with extremist content and passes a proportion on to to the video poster.

Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker has said that U.K. TV giant ITV could benefit from the digital ad controversy.

"We accept that we don't always get it right, and that sometimes, ads appear where they should not", it continued.

This comes after Google came under fire when its highest-grossing YouTube entertainer included Nazi imagery on his videos.

"We have suspended all Sainsbury's and Argos advertising on the site with immediate effect and are seeking urgent assurances from Google that this issue is being taken seriously and addressed".

And yet Google says it's not a media company.

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