Google may have dropped its “Don’t be evil” corporate motto 16 months ago but it claims to be still stamping out evil advertising practices, insisting that it took down over 1.7 billion ads that violated its advertising policies in 2016, more than double the 2015 figure.
The company cites two key changes to its ad policy for the increase in takedowns; first, it expanded its policies to better protect users from misleading and predatory offers, including payday loans. Second, it beefed up its technology so it can spot and disable ads even faster.
According to a blog post by Scott Spencer, director of product management at the firm’s Sustainable Ads division, so-called “bad ads” can ruin the online experience for all. He added: “They promote illegal products and unrealistic offers. At their worst, they can trick us into sharing personal information and infect our devices with harmful software. Ultimately, bad ads pose a threat to users, partners, and the sustainability of the open web itself.”
He goes on to detail that Goggle disabled more than 68 million ads for healthcare violations, up from 12.5 million in 2015; more than 17 million ads for illegal gambling violations; and nearly 80 million ads for deceiving, misleading and shocking users.
Meanwhile, in response to a dramatic increase in scamming activity in 2016, it took down almost 7 million ads for intentionally attempting to trick its detection systems. To put this in context, the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned 4,584 ads in 2015.
Spencer added: “Improving the ads experience across the web is a top priority for our business and one we’re tackling by fighting bad ads, bad sites and scammers. It’s also why we support industry efforts, such as the Coalition for Better Ads, to protect users from bad experiences across the web. While we took down more bad ads in 2016 than ever before, the battle doesn’t end here. As we invest in better detection, the scammers invest in more elaborate attempts to trick our systems. Continuing to find and fight them is essential for creating a sustainable, open web from which we all enjoy.”
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