Google removes 5.2 billion ads for flouting rules

The company said it used a mix of human reviews and AI to detect those not adhering to policies

Last year, Google added or updated 29 policies for advertisers and publishers. Reuters
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Google removed more than 5.2 billion ads last year, up from 3.2 billion in 2021, for violating the company policies.

The Alphabet-owned company also restricted over 4.3 billion ads and suspended over 6.7 million advertiser accounts. It blocked ads from serving on more than 1.57 billion publisher pages and across more than 143,000 publisher sites, up from 63,000 in 2021.

Google said it has “thousands of people working around the clock” to enforce effective advertiser and publisher policies, and it relies on a mix of human reviews and artificial intelligence to detect the violators.

Last year, the company added or updated 29 policies for advertisers and publishers.

“We know that people and businesses put enormous trust in Google … as the digital world continues to evolve, Google makes ongoing investments in our policies and enforcement so people can have the safest possible experience online,” said Alejandro Borgia, director of ads privacy and safety at Google.

On Friday, Google also launched a searchable repository of verified advertisers across all of its platforms that lets people search for a particular advertiser and view the advertiser page.

The National looks at some of the key concern areas related to ads that Google handled last year.

Financial scams

Last year, Google removed 142 million ads for violating misrepresentation policy and 198 million ads for ignoring its financial services rules.

It also expanded its financial services certification programme that requires advertisers to prove that they are approved by their local regulator to promote their products and services.

However, despite efforts, cyber criminals continue to operate with more sophistication and use various tactics to evade detection, Mr Borgia said.

Fighting misinformation

In 2022, Google blocked ads from running on over 300,000 publisher pages that were spreading misinformation and unreliable claims. It also blocked and removed over 51.2 million ads for inappropriate content including hate speech, violence and harmful health claims, and 20.6 million ads for dangerous products or services such as weapons and explosives.

Ukraine crisis

Under its sensitive event policy, the company last year blocked more than 17 million ads related to Ukraine. It also removed ads from more than 275 state-funded media sites across its platforms.

“We acted quickly to prohibit ads that exploit, dismiss or condone the war …. we also paused the majority of our commercial activities in Russia across our products,” Mr Borgia said.

In reaction to Russia’s war against Ukraine, Google paused monetisation of Russian state-funded media across its platforms.

Child safety

Google said it blocked ads targeting young kids and filtered mature ad categories such as sexually explicit content and ads for gambling, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs.

“When it comes to designing products and creating policies, one of our top priorities is to ensure the safety of kids and teens around the world,” Mr Borgia said.

Updated: April 01, 2023, 4:30 AM