Google plans to give advertisers greater control over where their ads appear, following a number of cases where brands complained about their products being displaying alongside content from right-wing preachers and white supremacists, including former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke.
“We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us,” Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler wrote in a blog post Tuesday. Schindler said that the company would take “a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.”
On Friday, the U.K. arm of the Havas agency said it would halt spending on YouTube and Web display ads in Google’s digital advertising network, NPR reported. Havas agency’s clients include the BBC and Royal Mail.
Havas UK CEO Paul Frampton said he had a duty to protect clients and “ensure their brands are not at all compromised” by appearing alongside or seeming to sponsor content from extremists.
Google vowed to institute a number of changes, including tightening its ad policies and giving advertisers the ability to “fine-tune where they want their ads to appear.”
The move may rebut criticism that the website has not done enough to curb online hate speech — but will also thrust Google further into the public debate over political ideology and censorship.