UK Government Pulls Youtube Ads Amid Extremism Concerns

David Pemsel Guardian
UK Government Pulls Youtube Ads Amid Extremism Concerns

18 March, 2017

In January, Google reported that in 2016 it removed almost 2 billion "bad ads" from its systems, which the company said included self-clicking and fraudulent ads or promotions for illegal products.

A Government spokesman said that the committee expected a "high quality of service", and confirmed that Google had been summoned for discussions about how it would provide this.

The government suspended advertising on Thursday, citing "pending reassurances".

Following the reported meeting in Hanoi, local firms of major worldwide companies, Yamaha, Unilever, and Ford, all agreed to stop running advertisements on the social media platforms.

Within Vietnam itself, YouTube and Facebook account for two-thirds of digital media market share in Vietnam, said Nguyen Khoa Hong Thanh, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Isobar Vietnam.

Sky News understand the company has recently offered "advisory notices" to clients, warning them of the dangers of certain "uncurated" platforms - such as Snapchat Lenses. "They can not masquerade as technology companies, particularly when they place advertisements". It will not pull investment from Google Search ads which are verified.

Rob Norman, GroupM's chief digital officer, told Sky News that Google's response "has so far not been sufficient" and he said it needed to make "a public announcement apologising to consumers for the presence of the content, and telling those consumer that they should never imply that an advertiser endorses that content".

"You have to take responsibility for this as a media company", the WPP executive said.

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"Multimillion-dollar social media companies with ample funds are simply not investing almost enough in taking proactive action to stop extremist content from appearing and to stop it being monetised", he said."Profit comes first for these people, " he added.

"If nothing happens then I think the attitude of the market will harden".

According to Reuters, Vietnam claims that of the estimated 8,000 anti-government videos on YouTube only 42 have been blocked, despite the country's information restriction ban known as Decree 72.

Among the campaigns thought to be affected is one to boost Army recruitment.

Google has already apologised publicly for the problem, which resulted in advertising from the Home Office, the BBC and Transport for London displayed next to hate-inciting and homophobic videos.

In Friday's letter, Ms Cooper also wrote: "Google is the second richest company on the planet".

"We have placed a temporary restriction on our YouTube advertising pending reassurances from Google that government messages can be delivered in a safe and appropriate way", the United Kingdom government said in a statement.

"We've begun a thorough review of our ads policies and brand controls, and we will be making changes in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear across YouTube and the Google Display Network", added Harris in the blog.

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