AT&T pulls ads from YouTube over row involving content showing child exploitation

AT&T Inc pulled all its advertising from Alphabet Inc’s YouTube for the second time in two years.

AT&T Inc pulled all its advertising from Alphabet Inc’s YouTube for the second time in two years after a magazine reported the platform displayed ads next to videos that showed the exploitation of children.

“Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube,” an AT&T spokesman said in a statement on 21 February.

The move comes just one month after the US wireless carrier announced it would resume buying advertising on YouTube, after a nearly two-year boycott of the platform. The previous boycott was also due to concerns that its ads could run on videos featuring hate speech or other disturbing material.

Representational image. Image: Reuters

Representational image. Image: Reuters

The report by Wired magazine that commercials had run alongside offensive videos and comments also prompted food and beverage maker Nestle SA to pause advertising on YouTube earlier this week.

YouTube said it had removed some of the content, which violated its policies against child endangerment, nudity and other behaviours it considers inappropriate. YouTube added that it disabled comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors.

“There’s more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly,” YouTube said in a statement.

YouTube derives most of its revenue from advertising, and it has been one of Google’s fastest-growing units as consumers spend an increasing amount of time watching videos online.

Google does not specify its revenue from YouTube. Advertising research firm EMarketer estimates YouTube will net $11.4 billion in worldwide revenue in 2019 after accounting for revenue shared with content producers.

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