Google issued an apology on Monday after it transpired that advertisements for major United Kingdom companies and the government had been shown before offensive content on YouTube.
And, amid charges it has not done enough to curtail hate speech on its services, Google broadened its definition to include content that harasses or attacks people based on race, religion, gender or other "similar" categories.
Advertising firms HSBC and Marks and Spencer were the latest to pull their advertisements from the British market due to their content being attached to controversial content. Audi, McDonalds and L'Oreal previously removed ads as well.
The decision to pull ads from Google followed a Times of London investigation that revealed ads from many large companies and the United Kingdom government appeared alongside content from the likes of white nationalist David Duke and pastor Steven Anderson, who praised the killing of 49 people in a gay nightclub.
Google launched a review of the problem on Friday last week, apologized on Monday and said yesterday it had revamped its policies to give advertisers more control. With over 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and thousands of sites added to the AdSense network every day, setting brand safety filters too wide can result in legitimate content being excluded, as was seen earlier today when LGBTQ YouTube users spoke out in criticism of Google's Restricted Mode.
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As well as corporate giants, including Marks & Spencer and HSBC, the United Kingdom government last week said that it had suspended its advertising on YouTube for appearing alongside content deemed homophobic, extremist or anti-Semitic.
Britain is Google's largest market outside the USA, generating US$7.8 billion a year ago mainly from advertising, or almost 9 percent of global revenue. In addition, YouTube will take "a hard look" at the guidelines that determine "what content is allowed on the platform - not just what content can be monetized". But at times we don't get it right. For large marketers, even one ad placed next to extremist content can cause harm to a brand, he said. He says he understands that advertisers don't want their ads to appear next to content that is not in keeping with their values, and more will be done to ensure this doesn't happen.
But as the world's biggest advertisers descend on London for Advertising Week Europe, there was a muted response to Google's new ad plans.
Where adverts were found next to videos advocating extremism, YouTube will seek to resolve the case in less than a few hours.