Global brands shun Google for “hate” videos

Global brands shun Google for “hate” videos, by Alexi Mostrous.

Global brands including Volkswagen, Toyota and Tesco last night joined the more than 250 companies that have suspended advertising deals with Google as the internet giant apologised for failing to crack down on extremism.

ITV, Aviva and Heinz also pulled advertising from YouTube, Google’s video platform, after an investigation by The Times found the companies promoted on videos posted by hate preachers, rape apologists and homophobic extremists banned from entering Britain.

Google boss apology as more firms suspend ads over hate videos, by John-Paul Ford Rojas.

The European boss of Google has apologised for online adverts appearing next to extremist material as big firms, including M&S, pull ads from the internet giant. …

Sky, the owner of Sky News, said: “It is clearly unacceptable for ads to be appearing alongside inappropriate content and we are talking with Google to understand what they are doing to stop this.” …

He said Google was looking at better defining hate speech and inflammatory content, simplifying controls available to advertisers, and going further and faster in its efforts to remove “bad content” – in the context of 400 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

This is a worrying but inevitable trend. If major public companies (who tend to be PC) can force Google (which is also PC) to ban certain material as “hate” — what’s next? How far will banning non-PC material go? Is free speech on privately owned platforms like Google and YouTube not viable in the face of commercial pressure? These platforms only exist due to advertising money, so the advertisers rule.

The antidote to bad speech is good speech, but advertisers don’t want their ads to appear next to what they consider bad speech. Maybe the ultimate solution is for all content to be classified to a fairly fine grained level, and advertisers choose which classifications their advertising appears with. Until then, commercial pressure to ban blasphemous material will only increase, as non-PC thoughts are increasingly driven from the public square.