Major brands continue to distance themselves from Google's YouTube

Tareq Haddad

The world's biggest brands have continued to expunge themselves from Google's advertising network after accusations its YouTube platform failed to crack down on extremist videos.

HSBC, McDonald's and Volkswagen are among over 250 firms to pull adverts from the website in recent days following a sting by the Times.

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The newspaper uncovered how advertising placed by the firms and the British government were being displayed alongside videos containing anti-Semitic, homophobic and offensive content.

Following the controversy, Matt Brittin, the head of Google's EMEA Business and Operations divisions, vowed his company would do better to tackle to tackle the issue.

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"We are sorry to hear of anybody that's been affected, we are working hard to improve policy, controls and enforcement, there will be more specifics very soon, and we are working on that with the industry," he said in a statement issued Monday (20 March).

Brands that have pulled out
Marks & Spencer
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Mail
Domino's Pizza
UK government

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Brands still advertising (but investigating)
British Airways
Intercontinental Hotels

Appearing at the annual Advertising Week Europe event in London on the same day, Brittin told executives: "When anything like this happens we take responsibility for it," reported the Times.

However, he stated the company would not be hiring workers to hunt out and delete extremist content.

The tech giant has repeatedly said it cannot monitor every video posted to YouTube, largely due to the sheer quantity – between 100-300 hours of content are uploaded every minute – and so relies on the public to report videos that violate the site's terms and conditions.

It will also use automated technology to remove videos as well as giving advertisers more control of where their adverts are placed.

Typically, according to the Times, YouTube users receive about £6 for every 1,000 clicks an advert attracts.

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