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Thomson Reuters halts digital ads after 'funding terrorism' report

Thomson Reuters has halted some programmatic online advertisements after an investigation revealed prominent brand names were inadvertently funding extremism.

"Thomson Reuters has taken immediate action to investigate and resolve this matter, and has suspended elements of the programmatic digital advertising activities within the business unit responsible while a further review takes place," a spokesperson said.

The company said it was deeply concerned that a recent digital campaign had appeared on inappropriate websites following a report in The Times which found that hundreds of companies were appearing on websites and YouTube channels promoting extremist ideology.

Among the branded content appearing on websites supporting Islamic State and neo-Nazi YouTube channels was an advert for Thomson Reuters which was placed alongside a video from Nazi group Combat 18.

"The company has a rigid set of policies and procedures to avoid this happening and is grateful for this case being brought to our attention," the spokesperson added.

Programmatic advertising is a system that uses computer technology to buy digital adverts in the milliseconds that a webpage takes to load. It enables advertising agencies to track potential customers around the web and serve them adverts on whichever website they are browsing. ■

The Drum