One in Four Say Advertisers Shouldn't Appear Near News About Controversial Politicians

Around one in four web users say companies should avoid advertising next to news articles about controversial politicians, as well as articles about murder and other violent crimes, according to a new survey.

The survey -- conducted earlier this month by the industry organizations Trustworthy Accountability Group and Brand Safety Institute -- examined consumers' attitudes toward advertising around a broad range of content -- including hate speech, guns, terrorism-related material, and news articles. The organizations questioned 1,110 U.S. adults via SurveyMonkey.

One question specifically examined attitudes toward ad-supported news articles. Respondents were told, “Some advertisers do not run ads near news stories about certain topics, depriving those media outlets of financial support for their news operations,” then asked which categories of news stories, if any, should be avoided by advertisers.

Approximately 27% of respondents said advertisers should not appear adjacent to news about “murders and violent crimes,” while 26% said advertisers should avoid appearing near stories about “controversial politicians.”

Around 22% of respondents said advertisers should not appear near news about abortion, lesbian and gay issues, police brutality, and riots.

A slightly smaller proportion, at 18%, said advertisers should avoid running ads next to stories about the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

More than four out of 10 (46%) said all “high-quality news coverage” should be appropriate for ads.

The vast majority of people surveyed (88%) said it was important for advertisers to avoid websites or apps with “dangerous, offensive, or inappropriate content.”

Around 70% said companies should prevent ads from running near hate speech, while 59% said companies should avoid placing ads near terrorism-related content.

Slightly fewer than half of the respondents (48%) said advertisers should keep ads from appearing near pirated movies or tv shows.

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