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US Telcos Drop Google Advertising

US Telcos Drop Google Advertising

AT&T and Verizon are pulling advertising from YouTube and Google after ads from the brands appeared alongside controversial videos and articles.

The two telcos join a wide range of other brands which have dropped advertising on YouTube and Google in response to an investigation by The Times last week, which found that ads from the BBC, the UK government and UK retailer Argos were appearing alongside extremist and offensive content.

In a statement to Recode, Verizon said it would be pulling its non-search ads from Google and YouTube worldwide.

“Verizon is one of the largest advertisers in the world, and one of the most respected brands. We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively. Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future,” Verizon said.

AT&T has responded similarly, and said it was “deeply concerned” its ads may have appeared alongside YouTube videos promoting terrorism and hate.

“Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms,” AT&T said.

On behalf of clients including the BBC and Royal Mail, French advertising group Havas Media also halted Google and YouTube ads. According to the Guardian, Havas spends about £175 million ($285 million) on digital advertising in the UK annually.

Other brands which have pulled advertising include McDonald’s, Toyota and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler said in a blog post earlier this week that the company would make changes to improve ad placement and ensure this situation would not occur again.

“Recently, we had a number of cases where brands’ ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us. That’s why we’ve been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear,” Schindler said.

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