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After advertisers complained, Google promises to keep ads away from ‘offensive content’

The company said it may also limit the kinds of videos users upload to YouTube.

Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler
Asa Mathat

Google is changing the way it sells and places ads, after advertisers discovered some of their ads were running alongside videos featuring extremist content and hate speech.

The moves come less than a day after a top Google exec apologized publicly to advertisers.

The new policies and tools, announced via a blog post by Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler, include more conservative default settings for where ads may be placed and greater controls for advertisers.

They’re aimed at both advertisers and publishers: Google wants to reassure advertisers that their ads won’t run next to offensive content, and it’s warning publishers who make that stuff that they may lose their ad revenue if they don’t shape up.

“Starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content,” Schindler wrote. He said Google would work on removing ads that ran next to content that is “attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories.”

Schindler’s post also says Google will be reviewing what content it allows on YouTube. It’s unclear whether this move could result in removal of existing content.

“Finally, we won’t stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform — not just what content can be monetized,” he wrote.

We’ve asked Google to elaborate on what Schindler means, and will update with comment if they have one. Update: Here’s a quote from a YouTube rep: “While we want YouTube to be a place for free expression, we’re taking a harder look at broadening our community guidelines around hate speech and harassment.”

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