More big brands pull ads from YouTube in widening boycott

SAN FRANCISCO - An advertising boycott of YouTube is broadening in a sign that big companies doubt Google's ability to prevent marketing campaigns from appearing alongside repugnant videos.

PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores and Starbucks on Friday confirmed that they have also suspended their advertising on YouTube after the Wall Street Journal found Google's automated programs placed their brands on five videos containing racist content. AT&T, Verizon, Volkswagen and several other companies pulled ads earlier this week.

The defections are continuing even after Google apologized for tainting brands and outlined steps to ensure ads don't appear alongside unsavoury videos.

If Google can't lure back advertisers, it could result in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Most analysts, though, doubt the ad boycott will seriously hurt Google's corporate parent, Alphabet Inc.