Marks & Spencer pulls adverts from Google over extremist video fears

"We've made a public commitment to doing better and making improvements in three areas: raising the bar for our ads policies; simplifying advertiser controls and adding safer defaults; and increasing investment in enforcement to act faster".

Google has responded, saying that its policies work as intended "in the vast majority of cases, protecting users and advertisers from harmful or inappropriate content".

"When anything like this happens we take responsibility for it".

Google has apologised for allowing adverts to appear alongside offensive videos on YouTube.

WPP, the world's largest advertising firm has said it was talking to clients and media partners such as Google, Facebook and Snapchat to find ways to protect brands.

The British government said last week that it would temporarily restrict its advertising on the company's platforms.

Here are the names of the brands who have stopped advertising with Google after spotting their ad on hateful websites - Marks & Spencer, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, Havas UK clients - the BBC, O2, Domino's, the Royal Mail and others, The Guardian, The UK government, McDonald's UK, L'Oreal, and Audi.

Google is under fire this week, as numerous high-profile European companies withdraw or threaten to withdraw from the search engine's lucrative ad business over concerns that their promotions are being placed alongside extremist, racist content.

Extremists make money off taxpayer funded YouTube ads
Google said it would change both its technology and its policies to give more control to advertisers on its platforms. The report cites content showing up in YouTube alongside videos of white nationalists and terrorists.

Currently Google flags and then reviews questionable content, and deals with about 200,000 flags per day. No company wants to be seen to be inadvertently funding hate speech and radicalisation, obviously, but this is symptomatic of a larger, more nuanced darkness.

The group has promised to make changes to its technology in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear.

MPs have recently said that Google was profiting from hatred after it failed to remove videos from groups allegedly linked to terrorism.

"We are now seeking reassurances from Google as to how they can improve its filters to ensure this does not happen in the future. We are accelerating that review", Brittan said.

"Google assured us they would fix this very quickly and so we've chosen to hold them accountable rather than pull our allocations", he said.

"They can not masquerade as technology companies, particularly when they place advertisements".

Pivotal Research's Brian Wieser wrote in a note on Monday that the controversy will "curtail global growth this year".

Nina dos Santos contributed to this article.

  • Megan Austin