At least four major US advertisers have pulled millions of advertising dollars from google ad amid growing concerns about extremist content.

US telcos AT&T and Verizon, car rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical giant GSK have all pulled their advertising, the UK’s The Times is reporting.

As a recap, The Times broke the story last week that a number of British advertisers’ ads had appeared next to extremist material – including white supremacists, homophobes and Islamic extremists – on the google ad-owned YouTube which also generated revenues for the hate-speech creators.

Some 250 British brands have now joined the boycott.

Google ad has gone into damage control and promised better protocols and tools for its advertisers. However, the ban has clearly caught the attention of US advertisers too and will create a huge problem for the tech behemoth as it seeks to reassure brands their ad spend is not funding hate speech or extremist groups.

According to The Times, Verizon’s ads were appearing along side videos made by Wagdi Ghoneim, an Egyptian cleric banned from the US over extremism, and Hanif Qureshi, whose reportedly inspired the assassination of a Pakistani politician.

AT&T said in a statement on Wednesday: “We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate.

“Until google adcan ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

The news follows on from a report published on B&T yesterday that showed Google was set to snare $US72.69 billion in digital advertising in 2017.

Meanwhile, in a blog piece, the company’s chief business officer, Philipp Schindlerm, said: “We’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear. We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands.”

We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” AT&T said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

The UK-based investigation led more than 250 brands to pull their advertising. In a blog post published on Monday, Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler announced the company was expanding its policies on hate speech to include videos targeting vulnerable groups.

In response to the latest boycott from the US brands, Google said on Wednesday: “We’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear.”

“We’re also raising the bar for our ads policies to further safeguard our advertisers’ brands.”

Google is the dominant player in online advertising, and ads are by far the company’s biggest source of money. In 2016, the firm generated $80bn in ad revenue – accounting for almost 90% of the firm’s total income for the year.

Of the boycotts announced on Wednesday, both Verizon and AT&T have major online advertising ambitions of their own. Verizon in particular recently agreed to purchase embattled web portal firm Yahoo for $4.48bn – a deal it hopes will help it compete with Google for ad sales.

The Google Ad Ban Spreads To The US As Big Players Can Spends

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