Google has moved to soften the damage to its reputation over hate videos on YouTube by issuing an apology, and revealing measures to address complaints from advertisers.
The statement, in a blog by Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler, comes after scores of advertisers announced they would pull their content from YouTube because it was appearing adjacent to hate videos. Marks & Spencer in the UK became one of the latest companies to take action.
In his blog Schindler says that YouTube will review community guidelines to modify content that is permissible; remove adverts from content that attacks or harasses people “based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories”; and “tighten” safeguards to ensure adverts only appear next to “legitimate” content creators rather than disguised content.
Among a host of other measures Google also intends to offer advertisers increased transparency about where their adverts are appearing, and will hire more people to monitor content.
Schindler writes: “Recently, we had a number of cases where brands’ ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us.”
He adds: “We believe the combination of these new policies and controls will significantly strengthen our ability to help advertisers reach audiences at scale, while respecting their values. We will continue to act swiftly to put these new policies and processes in place across our ad network and YouTube.
“But we also intend to act carefully, preserving the value we currently provide to advertisers, publishers and creators of all sizes.”