Verizon and AT&T have decided to pull their ads from YouTube after ads were placed on videos containing offensive content. Due to the way ads are handled on the platform, advertisers have little control of what kind of content their ads are displayed with. Offensive content such as hate speech and content related to terrorism have had ads run alongside them. Google’s Matt Brittin of the company’s European operation may have apologized to advertisers whose ad campaigns unintentionally headlined offensive content, but that hasn’t made several large advertisers are happy with the response. Google has said that it will address the issue and change the way it handles ad sales and placement after advertisers complained that their ads ran alongside content promoting terrorism and hatred.
AT&T is one of the several companies that don’t feel satisfied. The company released a statement that expressed their deep concern over the company’s ad campaigns being placed on YouTube videos promoting violence and terrorism. Google won’t be getting AT&T ads on its non-search platforms until it fixes the issue. AT&T ads have been pulled globally, while Verizon has also decided to pull their ads from Google’s non-search platforms. In a statement released by Verizon, the company reiterated the fact that Verizon is “one of the largest advertisers in the world and one of the most respected brands.” This statement showcases that Verizon takes their branding seriously and does not want to associate with some of the content being uploaded to YouTube.
Google’s trouble with the ad placements is costing the company big money as well as generating damaging media coverage, and because of this Google says it is conducting a thorough investigation into its advertising policies. The company has made public announcements and taken responsibility for the troubles and has been open about its determination to provide more control over ad placement to its advertisers. It is also possible that more restrictions will be placed on the type of content YouTubers are allowed to upload. A YouTube representative has reportedly stated that while the platform is meant to facilitate freedom of expression, the community guidelines are being looked at in an attempt to curtail hate speech and harassment. U.S.-based companies like AT&T and Verizon are just the latest companies to voice that they’re pulling their ads from YouTube videos, as it companies like supermarkets and banks in the UK are also pulling ads, which means YouTube is losing ad revenue from large companies in its two largest ad markets. For now, the situation is costing Google money as its largest advertisers are choosing to disassociate themselves with YouTube and other non-search Google platforms.