Major companies have pulled their advertisements from YouTube and other Google platforms since the network giant cannot guarantee that a company’s ads will not appear alongside extremist content.
AT&T was one of the latest companies to join the boycott.
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” a spokesperson for AT&T said in a statement to CNNTech. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”
Verizon said it’s company had launched an investigation into the problem and in the meantime “took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement.”
Other companies participating in the boycott included Johnson & Johnson and the car rental company Enterprise. The boycott is growing, with approximately 250 companies participating at present.
It follows an expose published by London’s The Times that revealed ads from the BBC and L’Oreal were placed near content posted by religious extremists as well as a Ku Klux Klan leader. Subsequently, the British government and The Guardian newspaper among others pulled their ads from Google platforms.
In response, Google’s chief business officer, Philipp Schindler apologized and promised to institute a three-pronged program to address the problem. The program includes changing its policies, offering better control to advertisers and a review mechanism.
Currently, Google places ads on its digital platforms through a process called “programmatic advertising.” While advertisers can indicate the type of demographic they want their ads to be seen by, Google’s digital system for choosing ads means any given ad can end up appearing next to unacceptable content.