More US companies suspend ads on YouTube over "offensive content"

Global firms pulling ads from YouTube say they did not want their brands associated with inappropriate content.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Google has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos on YouTube carrying hate or offensive messages.

US healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and JPMorgan Chase & Co suspended all digital advertising on Google's YouTube, over concerns that its ads may have appeared on channels that broadcast offensive videos, the US companies said on Thursday.

J&J said that it wanted to ensure that its product advertising did not appear on channels that promote "offensive content." 

We take this matter very seriously and will continue to take every measure to ensure our brand advertising is consistent with our brand values — Johnson & Johnson

JPMorgan, the biggest US bank by assets and the biggest issuer of general purpose credit cards, suspended all of its ads from YouTube on Thursday, according to spokeswoman Trish Wexler.

The bank spends about $3 billion on marketing each year.

JPMorgan said it suspended all of its ads from YouTube on Thursday. [Reuters]

Overhaul of practices

Wireless carriers Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said on Wednesday they would suspend digital ads on YouTube, joining a list of well-known British brands such as retailer Marks and Spencer Group Plc that are deserting Alphabet Inc's Google.

"We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate," a statement from AT&T said, indicating it was removing non-search ads from Google.

Google has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos on YouTube carrying hate or offensive messages. The company vowed an overhaul of its practices and said on Wednesday it has started an extensive review of its advertising policies.

On Monday, Google apologised for the placement of ads on extremist content and pledged it would address the concerns.

"We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn't align with their values — Philipp Schindler, Google's chief business officer 

Shares of Google parent Alphabet ended down 1.2 percent, or $10.15 per share, at $839.65 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Control over online ad placement has become a hot-button issue for advertisers, with social networks and news aggregators coming under fire during and after the US presidential election for spreading fake news reports.

Advertisers have also sought to avoid having their brands appear beside content that they categorise as hate speech.

TRTWorld and agencies