Google is in trouble. AT&T and Verizon are the latest companies to pull their ads from the search engine giant’s platform over reports that it wasn’t doing its best to prevent their advertisements from appearing next to YouTube videos that promote terrorism and hate speech. This comes after an announcement wherein Google promised to offer advertisers greater control over ad-placement.
Verizon and AT&T’s announcements on the other hand, came after several similar announcements from organizations in the UK that did not appreciate their advertisements running next to videos that promoted violence or extremism in one form or the other. Google came up with greater control for advertisers however, it appears that the damage has already been done.
Verizon and AT&T are some of the largest advertisers in the United States. As per data from Bloomberg, AT&T alone spent around $941.96 million on advertising last year. That is a huge amount. Add to it the amount spent by Verizon and we are pushing billions. And a significant chunk of all that money went to Google. Now though, the company won’t be receiving any of those ad-dollars until it can exhibit some improvements.
In a statement regarding its decision, AT&T said:
We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate. Until Google can ensure that this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.
Verizon also said that it was working with all of its digital media partners to ensure that such issues did not occur in the future.
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.
Meanwhile, Google needs to step up its game now and take care that such unhealthy content are not the source of its ad revenue. The company must now introspect and see where exactly all that money is coming from, or risk continue losing it in great chunks.