Out of touch, or just a horrible excuse? Google Europe boss says not to worry, as extremists only make pennies on YouTube ads, as companies flee the web giant.
Last week, The Times published a damning investigative article. Google’s DoubleClick AdExchange failed to stop prominent web advertisers from appearing on extremist videos. Companies like L’Oreal, Sainsbury’s, Nissan, and more appeared on racist, hate-filled videos. In one example, viewers could watch a Royal Air Force ad on an anti-Semitic video.
Following the news, major companies quickly announced that they were pulling out from Google and YouTube. According to The Times, over 250 companies have suspended advertising deals with Google. Yet, is the web giant out of touch with companies’ anger?
At a London advertising conference, Matt Brittin, head of Google Europe, apologized for the incidents.
“I want to start by saying sorry to the brands affected by this. I take the issue very seriously and I apologise in the instances where that may have happened.”
Yet, he refused to say whether the company had started actively seeking out extremist content.
Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and home affairs select committee chair, said Google has failed “to do enough” to stamp out hateful content.
At the advertising conference, Brittin’s following comment sparked even more outrage.
“I’ve spoken to … some brands that are affected. In general I’ve found that it has been a handful of impressions and pennies not pounds.”
Brittin’s comments contradict independent marketing experts. According to them, extremists have made around £250,000 (slightly over $312,000) from advertising revenue. The ads help fund people who post the videos on YouTube.
On average, for every 1,000 views, uploaders receive £6 ($7.49). In one instance, Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim’s channel has raised over £63,500 (around $79,275) after 31 million views. The UK banned him from entering the country over concerns that his comments may “provoke others to commit terrorist acts.” BBC, Channel 4, and Boots ads have appeared on his videos.
The Times posted a short list of major companies that have pulled their advertising money from Google.
- Marks & Spencer
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- The Royal Mail
- Domino’s Pizza
- UK government
Without giving specifics, Matt Brittin promised that the company will do more to combat extremist videos.
“You’ll have more detail from us very soon on that. We’re working to get it right and if we need some improvement we will do.”
Yvette Cooper blasted Brittin’s comments. Cooper says the company hasn’t taken responsibility for the errors, nor has it done enough to combat the videos.