In a blog post today, Google U.K.’s managing director announced that the company would be making some big changes to exactly where — beside which videos — advertisements from brands will be able to appear. The change comes after several major brands — including French advertising agency Havas, the British government, and the Guardian — pulled their business, after discovering their ads were running with offensive content. As an example, Bloomberg reports, ads for a charity that helps underprivileged kids, which was founded by Prince Charles, were being shown next to extremist YouTube channels.
We’ve heard from our advertisers and agencies loud and clear that we can provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content. While we have a wide variety of tools to give advertisers and agencies control over where their ads appear, such as topic exclusions and site category exclusions, we can do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content. We’ve begun a thorough review of our ads policies and brand controls, and we will be making changes in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear across YouTube and the Google Display Network.
The company also acknowledged the importance of freedom of speech, and says it plans to continue its commitment to open internet expression. Provided, of course, it’s not horribly racist and insensitive content driving millions of dollars in ad revenue out the door.