Mar 20, 2017

Another advertiser pulls out of Google in the U.K.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (Tsering Topgyal / AP)

Marks & Spencer, a large multinational retailer, announced on Monday it has removed its ads from Google over fears their advertising could appear next to extremist content. They follow reports over the past week that HSBC, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland, Jaguar Land Rover and Marie Curie removing their ads from Google-owned platforms.

Google apologizes: On Friday, Google finally apologized to advertisers in the U.K. that have been pulling ads from its properties due to the prevalence of questionable content, like hate videos on YouTube, that their ads could be running against. Their apology came after an announcement last week Google will start using data from more than 10,000 human contractors known as "quality raters" to teach its algorithms how to better spot offensive, incorrect or misleading information.

Get smart: There's a reason the other half of the digital duopoly isn't getting slammed as hard. Aside from FB Live, Facebook has generally been able to avert PR crises over their content the past month, due to a strategic effort to win publishers with its Facebook Journalism Project. Facebook's open communication with publishers through listening tours about its efforts to clean up content on its platform could also be easing advertiser's concerns.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."