Alphabet’s Google Restricts Ad Content alongside Extremist YouTube Content

Posted: March 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

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In an effort to stem a massive loss of value over the last few days (UD $24 billion), Google (and its parent company Alphabet) has begun taking steps to further restrict how major advertisers ads are paired alongside extremist YouTube videos.

Google said it was taking steps to protect its clients from inadvertently supporting hate. But it was still inadvertently allowing ads to be paired with anti-Semitic, extremist Islamist, neo-Nazi and homophobic video clips in Germany, France, Sweden and South Africa. Google has struggled to match the expansion of the ad crisis.

Some major advertisers began cutting off advertising to YouTube or updating the filters to stop delivery of ads to extremist sites. “We didn’t know that our ads were played in this context,” Axa spokeswoman Anja Kroll said in an email. “We have immediately arranged for an update of the filters and stopped the delivery” of the ads because “diversity, tolerance and openness are values that are of key importance for us and that we practice daily.”

While Axa hasn’t pulled its ads from YouTube, the German unit is using “blacklist” filters to prevent its ads from appearing next to extremist, racist or other undesired content, Kroll said. In this case, she said, the filters apparently failed.

Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said Google could “get pretty close” to guaranteeing companies’ ads won’t be placed near hateful material, advertisers throughout Europe were confronting more than a dozen new examples and scrambling to protect their brands.

“We don’t comment on individual videos but as announced, we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands.”

Some of the world’s biggest marketers halted spending on YouTube as a result of revelations of the Times of London, that their ads were running alongside offensive content. Range Rover in South Africa, Telenor in Sweden, Nissan and Nilson (a shoe manufacturing company) are all taking measures to address their exposure. Total, IBM, MTN, Tag Heuer, HBO and Netflix didn’t respond nor had no immediate comment to questions from the media, while, Tradera’s owner, PayPal Holdings, declined to comment. IKEA in Sweden asked its media company to “immediately investigate the reason behind this.” Other companies that also pulled or suspended their ads were JP Morgan Chase, Ford, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Verizon Communications, BBC, Sainsbury, Volkswagen and Toyota in a variety of nations exposing the global nature of the problem for Google.

Google and Facebook use automated computer programs that maximize volume and helped them dominate online advertising. Digital-based ad sales will overtake TV to become the number one media category in 2017. Ads reportedly bring Google billions of dollars per year and are its fastest growing business.

Google is scrambling to address the controversy, saying it was increasing safeguards to protect advertisers, such as automatically excluding ads from videos deemed “potentially objectionable” and giving advertisers more control over placement.

Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s CEO appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings With Maria” and said Google can generally ensure clients that their ads won’t be placed next to “hate” content.

“We match the ads and the content,” Schmidt said. “But because we source the ads from everywhere, every once in a while somebody gets underneath the algorithm and they put in something that doesn’t match.” He said that Google had tightened its policies and increased the amount of time it spends manually reviewing the content, “and so I think we’re going to be okay.”

This controversy highlights the problem God’s people will face if their biblical content is one day considered to be extremist. Censorship and revenue restrictions on distinctive biblically-based content will make it difficult to give the final warning.

“We have no time to lose. The end is near. The passage from place to place to spread the truth will soon be hedged with dangers on the right hand and on the left. Everything will be placed to obstruct the way of the Lord’s messengers, so that they will not be able to do that which it is possible for them to do now. We must look our work fairly in the face and advance as fast as possible in aggressive warfare. From the light given me of God I know that the powers of darkness are working with intense energy from beneath, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give, a work now which we may do; but soon it will be more difficult than we can imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened on Jesus our Leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on to gain the victory.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, page 22.

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