Google helps ad­ver­tis­ers steer clear of hate speech

Mar­keters to get more con­trol over where mes­sages are dis­played.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Mark Scott ©2017 The New York Times Google

Google moved Tues­day to pro­tect its lu­cra­tive ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness by giv­ing mar­keters greater con­trol over where their ads ap­pear on­line, af­ter ma­jor clients with­drew spots that were shown next to hate speech and other of­fen­sive ma­te­rial.

Google has be­come a global ad­ver­tis­ing be­he­moth, pock­et­ing bil­lions of dol­lars ev­ery year from brands pro­mot­ing their goods through the com­pany’s search en­gine and on YouTube. But the changes, which will be in­tro­duced in the com­ing weeks, high­light the dif­fi­cult bal­ance be­tween pro­tect­ing Google’s ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness while also al­low­ing free speech.

By giv­ing brands greater say over where their ads ap­pears, ex­perts say, Google is ac­knowl­edg­ing that it has not done enough so far to po­lice the ma­te­rial on its sites.

“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,” Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief busi­ness of­fi­cer, said in a blog post Tues­day. “We know that this is un­ac­cept­able to the ad­ver­tis­ers and agen­cies who put their trust in us.”

Google’s ef­forts to clean up its act show how de­pen­dent it re­mains on on­line ad­ver­tis­ing, de­spite the large bets its par­ent com­pany, Al­pha­bet, has made on other tech­nolo­gies, like driver­less cars and health care.

Last year, Al­pha­bet made $19.5 bil­lion in net profit, a 23 per­cent an­nual jump, al­most all of which was gen­er­ated from Google’s ad­ver­tis­ing busi­ness.

Google’s pub­lic mea culpa fol­lows the pulling of ads by Havas, a French ad­ver­tis­ing multi­na­tional. Havas with­drew spots for sev­eral of its clients from the search gi­ant’s dig­i­tal ser­vices in Bri­tain af­ter fail­ing to re­ceive as­sur­ances that they would not be shown next to of­fen­sive ma­te­rial.

As part of the ad­ver­tis­ing re­vamp, Google said that it would rig­or­ously vet on­line con­tent that could be con­sid­ered hate speech

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