Google is launching a major crackdown on dodgy ads

(Image credit: Google)

Google removed billions of ads, and banned millions of advertiser accounts from its Google Ads network, all in a bid to protect its users from various malicious actors and fraudsters in 2021. 

The news was contained in Google's newly-published 2021 Ads Safety Report, stating user safety is “at the very top” of its list of priorities. 

Overall, Google says it removed 3.4 billion ads, restricted more than 5.7 billion ads, and banned 5.6 million advertiser accounts.

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New policies and systems

Of the 3.4 billion removed ads, 650 million were nixed for abusing the ad network, while 280 violated rules regarding adult content. 137 million were removed for trademark violations, while 125.6 million carried “inappropriate content”. Other reasons why ads were removed are related to misrepresentation, gambling, healthcare, copyrights, and alcohol.

Google also said it stopped inappropriate ads from being displayed on some 1.7 billion publisher pages, and 63,000 publisher sites.

All of this was made possible, Google says, due to new policies and systems being brought in place last year. 

In 2021, the company introduced a multi-strike system for repeat policy violations, as well as more than 30 policies or restrictions for advertisers and publishers. That includes, among others, a policy prohibiting claims that promote climate change denial, and a certification for US-based health insurance providers, allowing ads only from government exchanges, first-party providers, and licensed third-party brokers.

Going forward, Google says transparency and control will continue being key elements of focus for the company. “We continue to roll out new innovations on features like our “About this ad” menu to help you understand why an ad was shown, and which advertiser ran it,” the company said. 

“We will continue to invest in policies, our team of experts and enforcement technology to stay ahead of potential threats.” 

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.