Google has an answer for all the brands worried that its automated systems are placing ads on offensive YouTube videos: smarter machines.
The search giant said Monday that it’s made progress towards implementing the artificial intelligence safeguards it promised advertisers last month.
The company’s scrambling in the wake of a worldwide advertiser revolt in which more than 250 marketers pulled spending from the site over ads placed near videos promoting terrorists, Nazi groups and other extremists.
The company’s slate of proposed fixes — machine learning to recognize unsavory videos, a more robust ad-vetting staff, stricter policies — didn’t do much to stem the exodus when Google announced them last month.
Now, Google’s offering a bit more detail.
A company spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the system will also incorporate input from third-party measurement and brand safety firms like Integral Ad Science and ComScore.
“We are working with companies that are [Media Rating Council]-accredited for ad verification on this initiative and will begin integrating these technologies shortly,” the statement said.
That could be an important concession for advertisers, who’ve long been concerned that the “walled garden” nature of dominant digital platforms allows them to offer numbers and claims with no independent verification.
Reporting in Business Insider a couple weeks ago suggested that advertisers might use the YouTube debacle as leverage on other tense issues with Google, such as transparency into its measurement processes.
Google’s business chief, Philipp Schindler, told Bloomberg over the weekend that the solution will involve the “new generation of our latest and greatest machine-learning models.”
Between progress made so far on implementing those tools and tighter content rules, the company said it’s flagged five times as many objectionable videos in recent weeks than it had before.
The company also claims that some major advertisers are coming back around. Schindler told Bloomberg that Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest companies to pull ads, had already started spending again in most major markets.
The most recent wave in the boycott came last week when a host of Australian brands joined their American and British counterparts.