Google have reacted to the growing crisis in the UK over extremist content appearing on YouTube, which has caused major companies such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, McDonalds and ad agency Havas cancelling their YouTube Ad campaigns, Google had to act fast.

On a blog post published today Philipp Schindler, Chief Business Officer with Google stated:

“Thousands of sites are added every day to our ad network, and more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We have a responsibility to protect this vibrant, creative world—from emerging creators to established publishers—even when we don’t always agree with the views being expressed.

“But we also have a responsibility to our advertisers who help these publishers and creators thrive. We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended. But at times we don’t get it right.”

Google have already begun ramping up changes in ad policies, their enforcement of these policies and new controls for advertisers. Over the next few months, advertisers will have access to new tools detailed below, that will allow them to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web.

  • Safer default for brands. We’re changing the default settings for ads so that they show on content that meets a higher level of brand safety and excludes potentially objectionable content that advertisers may prefer not to advertise against. Brands can opt in to advertise on broader types of content if they choose.
  • Simplified management of exclusions. We’ll introduce new account-level controls to make it easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns, and manage brand safety settings across all their campaigns with a push of a button.
  • More fine-tuned controls. In addition, we’ll introduce new controls to make it easier for brands to exclude higher risk content and fine-tune where they want their ads to appear.

Schindler also said “We’ll be hiring significant numbers of people and developing new tools powered by our latest advancements in AI and machine learning to increase our capacity to review questionable content for advertising. In cases where advertisers find their ads were served where they shouldn’t have been, we plan to offer a new escalation path to make it easier for them to raise issues. In addition, we’ll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours. “