The British government has insisted Google explain why taxpayer funded adverts have appeared alongside extremist videos on YouTube.
Advertisements pertaining to the Government were inadvertently situated next to videos of white nationalists, an Islamist hate preacher and a contentious Islamist preacher.
A government spokesperson said, “Digital advertising is a cost-effective way for the government to engage millions of people in vital campaigns such as military recruitment and blood donation.”
“Google is responsible for ensuring the high standards applied to government advertising are adhered to and that adverts do not appear alongside inappropriate content.”
In light of this news, the Government has placed a temporary halt on YouTube advertising pending reassurances from Google that its ads will not appear beside such controversial material.
The spokesperson went on to say that, “Google has been summoned for discussions at the Cabinet Office to explain how it will deliver the high quality of service government demands on behalf of the taxpayer,”
On Friday, an influential group of MPs from the home affairs select committee wrote to Google, accusing it of “profiting from hatred” only a few days after inveighing against Google, Twitter and Facebook for “commercial prostitution” because of a failure to fight hate speech on their platforms.
Chair of the HASC, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, said that despite reassurances during the committee hearing that the aforementioned companies would not allow terrorist material or hate speech to be monetised, media reports had shown “that this is not the case”.
“Government advertisements and major brands advertising is still being placed on inappropriate and hate-filled sites,” Cooper said. “As a result Google and these organisations are still profiting from hatred.”
Cooper requested that Google refund money to the government and other advertisers and account for “how this has happened, and what you are doing to prevent it ever happening again.”
According to the investigation carried out by The Times, The BBC, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and The Guardian also had advertisements next to extremist content.
In response to the investigation by the Times, a spokesperson from Google said: “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.”