Google has been summoned by the British government to explain why its advertisements on YouTube are appearing alongside extremist videos.
The Cabinet Office has responded by suspending millions of pounds in marketing money.
The suspension follows concerns raised by government departments, big brands, and media outlets that their ads are appearing on the video channels of bigots, homophobes, and white supremacists.
An investigation by the Times showed that ads for blood donations and military recruitment, paid for by taxpayers, are earning money for video bloggers with extremist views at a rate of about £8 ($10) every thousand views.
These include Steven Anderson, a pastor who has praised the killing of gay people and Michael Savage, who the Times describes as a “homophobic shock-jock.”
Anderson was banned from entering the UK last year for referring to gay people as “sodomites, queers and f*****s.”
Both reportedly had videos bearing advertising from the Home Office, the military, the BBC, and Transport for London.
The government suspended advertising on Thursday, citing “pending reassurances.” Channel 4 stopped its ads, saying it was not satisfied that YouTube was “a safe environment.”
Brands like the Guardian, L’Oréal, Argos, and Sainsbury’s have also pulled ads from the video platform.
“Google is responsible for ensuring that the high standards applied to government advertising are adhered to and that ads do not appear alongside inappropriate content,” a government spokesman told the Times.
“Google has been summoned for discussions at the Cabinet Office to explain how it will deliver the high quality of service that government demands on behalf of the taxpayer.”
Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who sits on the Home Affairs Committee, told the paper the situation is intolerable.
“Multimillion-dollar social media companies with ample funds are simply not investing nearly enough in taking proactive action to stop extremist content from appearing and to stop it being monetised,” he said.“Profit comes first for these people,” he added.