Google has apologised for allowing ads to appear alongside offensive videos on YouTube as more high-profile firms such as Marks & Spencer and HSBC pulled advertising for British markets from Google sites. Ivor Bennett reports
For companies like Marks and Spencer, YouTube is a vital advertising platform. But it's not one it'll be using anytime soon. The British retailer is the latest company to pull its advertising from Google's platforms after other firms' campaigns appeared alongside videos carrying extremist content. Speaking at an advertising conference in London, Google's European chief made this apology. SOUNDBITE (English) MATT BRITTIN, EMEA PRESIDENT, GOOGLE, SAYING: "So I want to start by saying sorry. You know, we apologise. When anything like that happens, we don't want it to happen, you don't want it to happen, and we take responsibility for it." The problem is, it was happening quite a lot. L'Oreal's campaign with actress Helen Mirren was the first to be noticed. The Times newspaper reporting it appeared alongside preaching videos by Steven Anderson. The American pastor who notoriously praised the shooting spree at a gay nightclub in Florida last year. This Guardian advert was spotted on a post by far-right group Britain First. While the videos of former KKK leader David Duke reportedly carried advertising by the Royal Navy. For every 1000 clicks an advert generates, around 6 pounds goes to the video's host meaning the brands were effectively financing extremists. SOUNDBITE (English) MATT BRITTIN, EMEA PRESIDENT, GOOGLE, SAYING: "In general what we've found is that it's been a handful of impressions and pennies not pounds. But however small or big the issue, we need to improve and we need to get better." The company's said it's reviewing its policy on video monetisation to more clearly define inflammatory content, and simplify the controls advertisers can have on where their material appears.