United Kingdom government suspends ads amid extremism concerns — YouTube

Google logo on the screen of a mobile phone

The Cabinet Office said it has placed a temporary restriction on its YouTube advertising "pending reassurances from Google that Government messages can be delivered in a safe and appropriate way", while The Guardian, Channel 4 and the BBC have also halted their advertising with the firm.

The internet giant's United Kingdom managing director Ronan Harris had earlier admitted the company "can and must do more" to combat what it called "bad advertising".

Google has been hauled in front of officials at the Cabinet Office to explain how it will end the inappropriate advertising.

Sky News understands that the company apologised to senior civil servants representing the Government and pledged a review of their advertising systems.

The government has pulled its adverts from YouTube after an investigation said that taxpayers are funding extremist videos online.

GroupM buys advertising space for a range of global companies, on a variety of media. "We are extremely concerned and have urgently raised this with our media buying agency".

Sky News understand the company has recently offered "advisory notices" to clients, warning them of the dangers of certain "uncurated" platforms - such as Snapchat Lenses. "They can not masquerade as technology companies, particularly when they place advertisements".

Nicklin, who spent ten years working at Google before joining the Guardian last year, also warned that if these - and other issues such as ad fraud and brand safety - could not be remedied quickly then the industry could face government regulation.

Advertisers are able to create marketing material to appear on websites and videos through Google's free AdSense service, and receive money for how often the adverts are seen and clicked on.

"We take it seriously, in terms of understanding how our product is used, the implications", she said.

"If nothing happens then I think the attitude of the market will harden".

At that appearance, the committee drew attention to videos by National Action, a proscribed organisation which the Government has said is linked with terrorism.

Because of the computer-directed processes that pair adverts with their targeted audiences on YouTube, companies are not always aware of or have direct control over which specific videos an advert has been placed alongside. The government alone is estimated to spend £2m a year on army recruitment adverts.

Following the reported meeting in Hanoi, local firms of major worldwide companies, Yamaha, Unilever, and Ford, all agreed to stop running advertisements on the social media platforms.

In Friday's letter, Ms Cooper also wrote: "Google is the second richest company on the planet".

However, Ms Cooper said the company's "lack of effort and social responsibility" towards the content was "extremely troubling". In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetization policies.

The government has suspended ads from YouTube amid concerns the content is appearing against "inappropriate" material.

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