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M&S joins HSBC, L’Oreal & Royal Mail in Google advertising boycott

By John Glenday | Reporter

March 20, 2017 | 2 min read

M&S has added to Google’s woes by adding its name to a growing list of advertisers now shunning its YouTube platform over the potential to pair up their adverts with extremist material.

An increasing number of big name brands, banks and businesses are joining a growing exodus from the platform amidst alarm at a perceived persistent failure to take down extremist content in a timely manner, fueling concerns that they are inadvertently funding terrorist organisations and far-right groups.

YouTube’s advertising model sees it distribute £6.15 of advertising revenues for every 1,000 views, a potentially lucrative funding stream for some extremists which can rack up millions of hits. Faced with a mounting advertiser revolt Google has now promised to ‘give brands more control over where their ads appear’ over the coming weeks.

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In a statement M&S wrote: “In order to ensure brand safety, we are pausing activity across Google platforms whilst the matter is worked through.”

Concerns stem from an investigation mounted by The Times newspaper which found that household names had been unwitting funders of terror groups and pornography owing to such oversights.

The list of businesses to have pulled commercial links from YouTube now extends from HSBC, Lloyds, McDonald’s and RBS through to L’Oreal, O2, BBC, Audi, Royal Mail and Domino’s.

Last week the UK government and the guardian became the first organisations to get the boycott rolling.

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