Marks and Spencer pulls advertising from Google over extremist content

Other major brands to pull their ads include McDonald's, L'Oreal, Audi and the BBC, while United Kingdom government spending has also been suspended.

How was the scandal uncovered?

According to the paper, the ads were appearing on hate sites and next to YouTube videos created by supporters of terror groups such as Islamic State.

The person who posts videos get £6.15 of advertising revenue from YouTube for every 1,000 views.

In one example uncovered by the Times, "Sandals Resorts, the luxury holiday operator, is advertised next to a video promoting al-Shabaab, the East African jihadist group affiliated to al- Qaeda".

Harris also mentioned that the company removed almost 2 billion "bad ads" from its systems, removed over 1,00,000 publishers from its AdSense programme and prevented ads from serving on over 300 million YouTube videos.

The committee also raised the issue of adverts automatically being put next to hate videos.

The government said it had placed a "temporarily hold" on its YouTube adverts - including for military recruitment and blood donations - amid concerns that they are appearing alongside extremist material.

"In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetisation policies", Ronan Harris, the firm's United Kingdom managing director, said on Friday.

"This is now a very serious problem for Google". Videos considered offensive in other ways will be flagged so automatic ads will not be generated alongside them, it added.

"We have suspended all Sainsbury's and Argos advertising on the site with immediate effect and are seeking urgent assurances from Google that this issue is being taken seriously and addressed".

Sky said on Monday: "It is clearly unacceptable for ads to be appearing alongside inappropriate content and we are talking with Google to understand what they are doing to stop this happening".

Paul Frampton, Havas UK chief executive and a country manager said, "We have a duty of care to our clients in the UK marketplace to position their brands in the right context where we can be assured that that environment is safe, regulated to the degree necessary and additive to their brands' objectives".

  • Arturo Norris