Three of the UK’s biggest banks have pulled their adverts from Google’s platform after their campaigns appeared alongside extremist YouTube videos. HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have expressed concern about some of their advertising budgets being used to fund banned hate preachers, racists and terrorist organisations, including Isis. Barclays could also be about to follow them out the door.
Retailers such as McDonald’s and Marks and Spencer, a number of Government departments and media organisations including the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian, have also suspended adverting on Google’s search engine and its YouTube platform. The issue appears to be related to the use of AdX, Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange Service, which uses automated trading of ads across sites via a variety of algorithms.
“In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetisation policies,” says Ronan Harris, Google’s UK MD. “We promptly remove those ads in those instances, but we know we can and must do more.”