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AT&T and Verizon are pulling their ads from YouTube and other sites that run Google ads after it was revealed that some of their ads have appeared next to extremist videos on YouTube.
The move represents a significant escalation of a business problem for Google. AT&T and Verizon are among the world’s largest brand advertisers, and their decisions to temporarily stop buying YouTube ads could cause other big US advertisers to follow suit.
“We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate,” an AT&T spokesperson told Business Insider in a written statement. “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”
“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,” a Verizon spokesperson told Business Insider. “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.”
The two companies will continue placing ads that show up next to Google search results. The Times first reported that AT&T and Verizon were pulling their ads from Google.
Shares of Google were roughly flat in late trading on Wednesday.
Verizon and AT&T are two of the largest US advertisers, and pulling spending from Google is a significant blow to the tech giant. The two companies are the latest to pull ads from Google following an investigation by The Times that showed some UK government ads running alongside videos for extremist groups like ISIS, indirectly providing money to those groups.
Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler promised in a blog post this week to provide advertisers with more ways to control what content their ads appear against.