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March 27, 2017

Google mulls price cuts as ad crisis worsens

Google is facing increasing backlash over adverts appearing next to extremist content, and many believe the company is not doing enough to fight it.

By Joe Clark

Advertisers are demanding Google offer discounts to advertising following revelations that ads are appearing next to extremist content on YouTube.

Google has come under increasing scrutiny recently, with brands worried that their products will become associated with extremist or violent content. Big companies such as AT&T, Verizon, McDonald’s, and Toyota, among many others, have all pulled ads from Google’s services in a response to the revelations.

Google has released an updated version of how it plans to tackle these issues, including a broadening of what it considers ‘inappropriate content’ and a crack down on vitriolic videos aimed at groups of people or individuals.

Rob Norman, Chief digital officer for Group M, told the Financial Times, that Google is also considering discounted rated for premium advertising.


Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Alphabet, during an interview on Fox Business, said: “We match ads and the content. But because we source the ads from everywhere, every once in a while somebody gets underneath the algorithm and they put in something that doesn’t match.”

“Because the ads come from everywhere, every once in a while an ad will come in that someone was trying to sneak it in, if you will, get underneath our rules and violate our terms of service.”

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“So we can’t guarantee it, but we can get pretty close.”

Over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute but the prominence of ‘extremist content’ has become a real worry for some advertisers.

Recently two of the platforms more popular stars, PewDiePie (54 million subscribers), and JonTron (3 million subscribers), found themselves independently embroiled in a bitter backlash over two separate instances of extreme right-wing behaviour.

Whilst on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, UK home secretary, Amber Rudd, said that failure of internet companies were not doing enough to battle extremist content.

Similarly, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed his condemnation, telling the Sunday Times that these companies need to “stop just making money out of prurient violent material.”

READ MORE: WhatsApp encryption helps terrorists hide, says Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Currently the list of advertisers boycotting YouTube is continuing to grow, with Pepsi, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson all leaving the video streaming site in the last week.

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