Marks & Spencer has been the latest brand to suspend advertising on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) search engine and Youtube.
This was following the Times investigation, which found several brands were inadvertently funding extremism due to their adverts being shown next to terrorist content on the search engine.
“In order to ensure brand safety, we are pausing activity across Google platforms whilst the matter is worked through”, said an M&S spokesperson.
Last week, Google had talks with ministers at the Cabinet Office after they imposed a temporary restriction on the government’s own adverts.
M&S is the latest in a string of brands to temporarily stop advertising on Google and Youtube. Other companies include McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), L’Oreal, Audi (ETR:NSU), the BBC, the Guardian and Channel 4.
Sky (LON:SKY) is currently considering their suspension.
“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,” a Sky spokesperson said.
A Google spokesman said last week: “We have strict guidelines that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended, protecting users and advertisers from harmful or inappropriate content.
“We accept that we don’t always get it right and that sometimes, ads appear where they should not. We’re committed to doing better, and will make changes to our policies and brand controls for advertisers.”
WPP’s (LON:WPP) Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s biggest advertising agency holding company, said Google and other media companies such as Facebook “cannot masquerade as technology companies” and needed to take their responsibilities more seriously.
A spokesperson for WPP media agency GroupM, said:
“Digital advertising on platforms where content is user-generated and not curated has inherent brand safety risks. GroupM vigorously pursues every brand safety precaution and technology available to mitigate these risks, and we encourage all clients to make use of these tools.
“At the highest levels, we have communicated with Google, Facebook, Snapchat and other partners to encourage their development of solutions. However, a 100 percent foolproof system may not be possible. It’s important that brands know this and proceed with caution – as well as with available safety tools.”