Image Credit: Flickr User Thomas Hobbs under CC BY-SA 2.0

Google says that it took down 1.7 billion ads in 2016 that violated its advertising policies, which is more than twice the number of ads that it took down in 2015. Google allows companies, publishers, and developers to advertise on products/services like Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps and via AdSense platform. The company claims to proactively filter out ads that can be misleading, inappropriate, abusive and harmful.

Its advertising policies require an advertiser to make sure that their ads do not violate a certain set of policies in four broad areas:
-Ads that promote counterfeit/dangerous products and inappropriate content.
-Ads that abuse the ad network by advertising malicious content, sites or apps focused primarily to drive up traffic. Ads that do not comply with Google’s user data collection policies
-Ads that advertise certain types of adult content, alcohol, promotion of copyrighted/trademarked content, political content and other restricted businesses/products.
-Ads that do not meet certain editorial and content standards.
– Note that in India, Google was asked to auto-block all kinds of pre-natal sex determination ads and prevent users from viewing them, as per a Supreme court judgment in September last year.

Based on these broad policies, Google filtered out:

i) 5 million payday loan ads which might lead borrowers to unaffordable loans, and high interest rates. Another 112 million “trick to click” ads that deceive users into downloading harmful software/malwares/viruses by clicking on it

ii) More than 68 million ads from healthcare sector that either promoted an illegal activity or a fake/harmful product. Google also took down 17 million ads that promoted illegal gambling.

iii) Nearly 80 million ads were taken down for intentionally deceiving, misleading and “shocking users”. More than 23,000 “self-clicking” ads that directs users to download an app (from Google Play) or softwares without direct consent from the user.

v) Close to 7 million ads were taken down for intentionally tricking users and Google systems by promoting fake products or services. Google also suspended 1,300 accounts for spreading promoting fake news, false claims and articles/stories pretending to be published by mainstream media.

vi) Filtered out 47,000 websites for promoting content or products related to weight-loss scams, 15,000 sites for promoting unwanted software and took down 900,000 ads for promoting malware. Another 6,000 websites and 6,000 accounts for promoting counterfeit designer goods.

vii) Around 340 sites/publishers on the AdSense network were pulled up for violating Google’s ad policies and another 200 publishers were “kicked out” for impersonation and other violations.

Image Credits: Flickr user Thomas Hobbs under CC BY-SA 2.0