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Alphabet, the parent company of Google, posted a 22 per cent surge in quarterly sales, despite concerns that advertisers were withdrawing dollars from its video site YouTube.

The owner of Google reported sales of $24.8bn. Excluding traffic acquisition costs, revenues were $20.1bn, beating estimates of $19.8bn. Improved operating margins also led to earnings per share of $7.73 in the quarter beating the average analyst estimate of $7.41 cents. Net income was $5.4bn.

Shares, which are up 21 per cent in the last year, rose 2.9 per cent to $918 in after hours trading in New York.

Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet, said the company had a “terrific start to 2017”.

“We clearly continue to benefit from our ongoing investments in product innovation and have great momentum in our new businesses across Alphabet,” she said in a statement.

Google has come under pressure during the quarter as large advertisers have withdrawn their adverts from YouTube, worried over how their marketing messages will play alongside extremist or inappropriate content. Brands from Verizon to Volkswagen, L’Oreal to Lloyds banking group and even the UK government said they were suspending buying ads on the Google-owned video platform. Some advertisers demanded discounts.

But the Silicon Valley company has come back with a plan to expand safeguards, broadening its definition of inappropriate content, adding additional controls for marketers and stopping ads from playing on channels with fewer than 10,000 views. Google also said it was deploying its machine learning technology to better weed out extremist content.

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