Wednesday 13 December 2017

UK halts adverts on YouTube in hate row

Theresa May is meeting Google. Photo: PA
Theresa May is meeting Google. Photo: PA

Kate Holton

The UK said yesterday that it will question executives from Google over why adverts marketing government services were appearing alongside videos carrying hate speech and extremist content on its YouTube website.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said Google would be attending a meeting at the Cabinet Office later after 'The Times' newspaper reported that public sector adverts were appearing alongside videos carrying homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.

The spokesman said the government had suspended its advertising from YouTube.

"We are waiting for reassurances that they have in place the technical expertise to stop our adverts appearing in the wrong places," he said.

Other organisations, such as retailers Sainsbury's and Argos and the 'Guardian' newspaper, said they had also withdrawn their advertising.

"It is completely unacceptable that Google allows advertising for brands like the 'Guardian' to appear next to extremist and hate filled videos," a spokeswoman for the newspaper said.

"We have stopped all advertising through Google with immediate effect until we receive guarantees that ​this won't happen in the future."

Google said in a statement that it worked hard to remove ads from appearing on pages or videos with "hate speech, gory or offensive content" and said it had launched a review to give brands more control over where their ads appeared.

"With millions of sites in our network and 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, we recognise that we don't always get it right," it said in a statement.

"In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetisation policies. We promptly remove the ads in those instances, but we know we can and must do more."

Google added that it believed in the freedom of speech and expression on the internet, even when it did not agree with the views expressed. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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