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Google’s YouTube problem continues: Now AT&T, Verizon and Enterprise are pulling some of their ads

Discomfort with content on YouTube is spreading.

AT&T At The 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Rachel Murray/Getty Images for AT&T

Google’s apology and promise to improve hasn’t cut it with AT&T: The telecommunications giant is pulling some of its advertising because it says some of its ads may have run next to controversial YouTube videos.

Here is AT&T’s statement:

“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate. Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

Non-search platforms would include YouTube and display advertising. An AT&T rep has confirmed that the company is pulling ads globally.

Verizon has confirmed it is also suspending ads with Google on non-search platforms. Here is Verizon’s statement:

“Verizon is one of the largest advertisers in the world, and one of the most respected brands. We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively. Once we were notified that our ads were appearing on non-sanctioned websites, we took immediate action to suspend this type of ad placement and launched an investigation. We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

An Enterprise Holdings representative has confirmed to Recode it has suspended advertising on YouTube. Here’s a statement from Enterprise:

“As you probably know, programmatic buying is a relatively new advertising ‘science,’ and has only become mainstream within the last four or five years. Although it is effective in dealing with the highly fragmented nature of the digital ad world, programmatic buying is still evolving as a business practice – and it appears that technology has gotten ahead of the advertising industry’s checks-and-balances. There is no doubt there are serious flaws that need to be addressed. As a result, we have temporarily halted all YouTube advertising, while executives at Google, YouTube and our own media agencies focus on alleviating these risks and concerns going forward.”

The Times, which earlier reported Verizon and Enterprise’s announcements, has also reported pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has suspended ads. GSK has not responded to Recode’s request for comment.

Last week, a number of advertisers pulled ads from Google and its giant video site over concerns ads could be appearing next to YouTube videos containing hate speech and extremist messages.

Among those to pull ads were the British government and the U.K. group belonging to media buying firm Havas. Five clients of media buying firm GroupM also announced they were pulling ads.

Here is Google’s comment on the decisions:

“We don't comment on individual customers but as announced, 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.”

Update: The story has been updated to include statements or confirmation from Enterprise Holdings, AT&T, Verizon and Google.

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