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Some advertising customers in the United Kingdom have pulled ads from Google-owned YouTube after some of them reportedly appeared alongside inappropriate and extremist content.

In February, an investigation by The Times found that major global advertisers had been having their ads programmatically placed on what should be blacklisted websites. Pensel also encouraged other brands and advertisers to stop running ads through Google exchanges until Google provides "guarantees that advertising placed on YouTube will not sit next to extremist content in the future".

Earlier this week Google, Twitter and Facebook were accused by MPs of "having no shame" and engaging in "commercial prostitution" for making money out of objectionable content.

The government, along with commercial organisations including the Guardian and French advertising giant Havas, have already suspended advertising with Google.

The Guardian newspaper pulled all its online advertising from Google and YouTube as chief executive David Pemsel branded the revelation as "completely unacceptable".

Ronan Harris admitted that Google needs to "do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content", and that the company plans to introduce more ways for customers to control how and where their ads appear. The intention of these policies is to prohibit ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory or offensive content.

In response, Google said it had "strict guidelines" about ad placements but admitted "we don't always get it right".

Google declined to comment on specific partnerships, but in a blog post published today, Google said it's working to give more protection and control to agencies and brands about where their advertisements appear while admitting that the company "doesn't always get it right". Harris mentioned topic exclusions and site category exclusion tools in his blog post, but these fall short in their current forms, as we've detailed.

In May a year ago, the Financial Times revealed that Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, an Islamist extremist accused of funding the 2009 Jakarta suicide bombings, had been selling advertising space on his website to worldwide brands including Citigroup, IBM and Microsoft using a service provided by Google.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the HASC, said that despite reassurances during the committee hearing that the companies did not allow hate speech or terrorist content to be monetised, media reports had revealed "that this is not the case".

"Google has been summoned for discussions at the Cabinet Office to explain how it will deliver the high quality of service government demands on behalf of the taxpayer", the spokesperson said.


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