AT&T, Verizon Suspend YouTube Ads Over Hate-Speech Videos


The crisis for Google over advertisers boycotting YouTube because of ads placed next to hate-speech videos that first set off a storm in the U.K. has now crossed to the U.S.: AT&T on Wednesday said it will not advertise on YouTube until the telco has a guarantee the internet giant has fixed the problem.

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

[UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. ET: Verizon also said it has pulled ads from YouTube and Google’s non-search ad networks over the issue. “We take careful measure to ensure our brand is not impacted negatively,” Verizon said in a statement. “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.” AT&T and Verizon are two of the biggest advertisers in the U.S.]


YouTube logo light Youtube youtube

Google Exec Apologizes for YouTube Ads Run Against Hate Speech, Terrorist Videos After U.K. Backlash

[According to the Times of London, which initially reported the AT&T move to suspend ads from YouTube, other American advertisers pulling business from YouTube include car-rental company Enterprise and pharmaceutical firm GSK. More than 250 companies and organizations in the U.K. have already suspended ads on YouTube, the paper reported.]

In a statement, a Google rep said: “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.”

The backlash against ads placed in extremist YouTube videos began last week in the U.K., when it came to light that some ads were appearing against YouTube videos posted by American white nationalists, anti-gay preachers and radical Islamic groups. British advertisers that have said they are pulling ads from YouTube include McDonald’s, the BBC, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, the Guardian, Audi, Channel 4 and Havas’ British unit.

In response to the chorus of complaints from the U.K. ad community, Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler earlier this week outlined a series of steps the company is taking to allay advertisers’ concerns. “We know advertisers don’t want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values,” Schindler wrote in a blog post. “So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.”

Schindler also said the YouTube team is taking a “hard look” at its guidelines for what content is permitted on the service, beyond what is considered acceptable for ad monetization.

YouTube’s community guidelines already broadly forbid users from posting hate speech, as well as other content like pornography. But how the policy applies to individual videos requires a judgment call. YouTube’s policies define hate speech as content “that promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity,” or whose primary purpose is “inciting hatred” on the basis of those attributes.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 31

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Ernest Pike says:

    So for Verson it is OK to promote theft, at least we know where there limmits are.

  2. The entire hate speech concept is designed to limit freedom of speech, a strategy leading to the dictatorship of the left. Also it forces the haters to go under ground, stopping us from knowing who they are.

  3. David Jones says:

    This is the same thing Twitter and Facebook have been doing for a long time. If you threaten to kill President Trump or advocate for ISIS there won’t be any problem. If you call someone “Fat” on Social Media though your account will be banned. The Ministry of Truth will decide what is acceptable.

  4. That clunking sound you hear is George Orwell trying to get out of his coffin, in an attempt to warn us that his books weren’t metaphors, they were prophetic.

    Slowly and surely, we head down the slippery slope to full on censorship. Not imposed from above, but from within. People with good intentions, desperate to have a world that guards everyone’s tender little feelings from what ever “hate speech” means – a shifting goal post indeed. Tomorrow, every Christian video will be flagged by the LGBT community in odd partnership with CAIR or the Muslim Brotherhood for “hate speech”.

  5. Ha! Take that AT&T! Same with you Verizon! You two imbecilic bastards have been advertising in my face multiple times on YouTube, and now the haters have cracked the whip on you! Hope you learned something from this Google and YouTube! Because when you fuck with me, I fuck ya back but harder! Either stop making the ads so relentless or I will be your end! You have been warned!

  6. Better than you says:

    LOL weak people with low IQ get offended so easily triggered losers prob do nothing with your lifes

  7. Leslie Sirag says:

    How about removing the hate videos?
    YouTube claims to have some standards about what can be posted — here’s a good one to enforce.

  8. Tripp Fell says:

    I’m actually quite surprised that they even got a response from anyone at YouTube or Google, ironically 2 of the most evil companies on the planet. That’s a win in and of itself for Verizon, AT&T et al right there.

  9. Hopeful... says:

    Another effort to muzzle free speech…how pathetic

    • Logan Starrider says:

      Pulling your ad from content you don’t believe in, is not an ” effort to muzzle free speech”. It is exercising good judgment with your money and how you want to be identified.
      What is truly pathetic, is the fact that you don’t realize the difference between the two.

  10. Sandy says:

    Thank you, AT&T and Verizon. Thank you. It’s about time someone stepped up and did something to help stop the hatred machine. Our country is in the midst of so much negativity, it’s becoming harder each day to overlook all we see on the computer. I keep hoping people will come to their senses, but there are the hate mongers who insist on keeping it going. Companies like you with the power to make the money grabbers listen or risk losing their biggest sponsors are taking a stand. Hopefully others will follow your example. Thank you so much.

    • Becky says:

      i … sort of … agree with you.
      And i say “sort of”, because … as usual, the only accounts YouTube will consider as hate speech, and shut down … is people saying things like “I like Trump, and i think he’s doing wonderful, getting so many jobs back to the usa” … and consider THAT to be hate speech! …
      And will leave alone a liberal account … screaming in all caps … “ALL REPUBLICANS MUST DIE AND GO TO HELL THE F’IN B**TARDS” … and they’ll leave THAT alone … saying its just an expression of opinion!

      Or, they’ll try and shut down all the alternative news telling people the TRUTH … like Trump bringing jobs back to the usa. Or Trump just arrested over 1500+ pedophiles and rescued almost 800 women and children from sexual slavery! … and say THAT’S hate speech!

      And leave all the crappy mainstream news sites alone … that do nothing but spout LIES …
      and say they’re doing a GREAT job! …
      And unfortunately, the only great job the LYING news is doing, is saying things like … “everyone hates Trump” -or- “Trump should be assassinated. Wish someone would hurry up and do it.” -or- “Trumps wrecking our country doing such awful things, like posting a tweet!” -or- “Trump is taking away ALL your health insurance, and raising your taxes so high, you wont get a penny of your paycheck, cause he’s gonna take it ALL away from you!” -or- “Trump is lying about pizzagate!” (when he just got done arresting hundreds of them, some politicians!)… and unfortunately, all this lying is only making liberals more hateful by the day!~ #they’vealldonegoneandlosttheirminds

  11. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    Wait, isn’t this the same anti-union Verizon???

  12. There is a point that is less than clear here. Verizon claims their ads were appearing on “non-sanctioned websites”. When you buy ad time on youtube or any other network, you dont get to cherry pick where those ads appear. Any website can embed a youtube video, and at least as far as my experience has been, the ads shown before a youtube vid plays has no direct connection to the content of the vid.

    Beyond that, I find it difficult to believe anyone with the intelligence needed to be viewing such a vid in the first place would think that AT&T or any other advertiser officially endorses, or even knows about, the content of that video. Youtubes guidelines on hate speech seem solid enough, it appears to me that what is needed is simply more enforcement, not revision.

  13. Bas says:

    Verizon love/hate AT&T. Good following.

  14. Uncle says:

    Exactly the right thing to do, but only as long as I get to define “Hate Speech”…

    • Thomas Wheeler says:

      And therein lies the problem. Who sets the definition?

      • James says:

        Pretty safe to say that neonazis and ISIS are hate groups. Weasel-word arguments don’t work here. Good luck with that.

        And obviously, the entity advertising sets the definition. At this point, most right wing content is outside of advertiser’s moral code, as they try to appeal to as many people as possible, while the right wing has become basically a white nationalist grievance group. Companies realize that this group is basically the past and is rapidly dying off.

  15. Thomas Wheeler says:

    Do I agree with hate speech or terrorism? Of course not. But my concern is — what defines “hate speech”? One person’s “hate speech” is another person’s matter of opinion, which they’re perfectly entitled to the expression thereof. As a Christian, I’ve been told that the Bible should be regarded , so where do we set the boundaries? If YouTube starts censoring videos that, let’s say, do not amount to calls for violence, but are simply a matter of opinion that some other group of people decides is “hate speech”, so that they don’t lose any more corporate sponsors, then essentially, we’ve got companies telling us what we can or cannot publicly say. I think that’s an extremely dangerous slippery slope.

    • Thomas Wheeler says:

      Please excuse me. That one sentence should read, “I’ve been told that the Bible should be regarded as ‘hate speech’. Got cut off somehow.

      • Hopeful... says:

        You don’t understand the Bible then mr. wheeler. Maybe read it instead of allowing left wing haters tell you what to think.

      • James says:

        Companies selling advertising and the people buying advertising set i in this instance. It’s not controversial that White Nationalists and apocalyptic Islamic Radicals/Fundamentalists are using hate speech.

  16. How about reviewing content and not allowing videos that promote terror, hate, and violence

    • HonestReality says:

      The left uses hate speech all day. All over the place is videos of famous and non famous liberals condoning violence against the president and other republicans. You, like most democraps never see what your party and the ppl who vote for your party does. I would be shocked if this comment is posted.

    • AmandaSue2 says:

      Yep!! How about the video itself? Where would the video of Snoop Dog, pointing a gun at the head of a clown, resembling President Trump…and pulling the trigger, fit into this scenario?

  17. Make Critics Great Again says:

    Coordinated political hit

    • James says:

      Absolutely. A huge amount of the content currently on youTube directly contravenes thier own olicies and standards.Same with Twitter and Instagram.

  18. Bas says:

    Nice one AT&T/AT&T Adworks!

More Digital News from Variety