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Google to revamp ad policies after UK, big brands boycott
Posted on 18th March 2017
London: Google, the primary revenue driver for Alphabet Inc., announced changes to its advertising policies after major brands pulled ads from the platform because they appeared alongside offensive content, such as videos promoting terrorism or anti-Semitism.

The US company said in a blog post on Friday it would give clients more control over where their ads appear on both YouTube, the video-sharing service it owns, and the Google Display Network, which posts advertising to third-party websites.

The announcement came after the UK government and the Guardian newspaper pulled ads from the video site, stepping up pressure on YouTube to police content on its platform.

France’s Havas SA, the world’s sixth-largest advertising and marketing company, pulled its UK clients’ ads from Google and YouTube on Friday after failing to get assurances from Google that the ads wouldn’t appear next to offensive material. Those clients include wireless carrier O2, Royal Mail Plc, government-owned British Broadcasting Corp., Domino’s Pizza and Hyundai Kia, Havas said in a statement.

“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,” said Paul Frampton, chief executive officer and country manager for Havas Media Group UK.

Later, the parent company Havas said it would not take any action outside the UK, and called its UK unit’s decision “a temporary move.”

“The Havas Group will not be undertaking such measures on a global basis,” a Havas spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We are working with Google to resolve the issues so that we can return to using this valuable platform in the UK”

The decision to pull ads from Google followed a Times of London investigation that revealed ads from many large companies and the UK government appeared alongside content from the likes of white nationalist David Duke and pastor Steven Anderson, who praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub.

Google made $7.8 billion in advertising revenue in the UK in 2016, accounting for 8.6% of the company’s total sales.

The boycott signals a growing backlash against so-called programmatic trading, which automates the buying and selling of advertising online, and social media providers that are seen to not be doing enough to tackle hate disseminated on their platforms.


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