Google close to becoming UK’s biggest ad company

Internet giant Google is rapidly becoming Britain’s biggest advertising business, but won’t let Christians advertise their pro-life views.

Recent figures show that Google earned about £407 million from UK advertising in the first three months of 2008, with much of the revenue coming from adverts for pornographic sites.

This means it is set to overtake ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial TV channel, as the biggest player in the UK advertising market.

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However, when The Christian Institute tried to place an advertisement for “views and news on abortion law”, Google refused.

It banned the advert for “inappropriate content” because, “Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain ‘abortion and religion-related content’.”

The Christian Institute wanted the ad to appear when abortion-related keywords were typed into a Google search. It is estimated that Google controls about 80% of the UK market for search-related online advertising.

Google is happy to allow adverts for non-religious sites with views on abortion. A Daily Mail article reported that sites encouraging polygamy, adultery and witchcraft are also advertised through Google searches.

Lawyers for The Christian Institute say Google is treating the Institute less favourably than other customers simply because of its religious beliefs.

The Equality Act 2006 makes it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of religion in the provision of goods and services.

The Institute’s lawyers wrote to Google and asked the internet company to publish its advert or face legal action. Google has not responded and so legal papers will be lodged in court within the next seven days.

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