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Google removed 2.3B ads in 2018, 58.8M phishing ads; 143K election ads verified in US

Google took down 2.3 billion ads in 2018, which is much fewer than the 3.2 billion ads it removed in 2017, for violating its advertising policies. Google took down 207,000 ads for ticket resellers, 531,000 ads for bail bonds and approximately 58.8 million phishing ads. This year Google focused on granular removals for ads of certain pages on a website. Google combined both machine learning and manual reviewers to flag and removed ads and accounts. Its worth noting that Google’s 2.3 billion number is nearly 1 billion lower than the bad ads removed in 2017. However, Google said it focused on removing accounts which ran bad ads, instead of removing individuals bad ads.

Bad ads and accounts removed

Here are the numbers from its latest Bad Ads report:

  • Google terminated 1 million bad advertiser accounts in 2018, double the number it removed in 2017
  • It expanded tools which identify small number of pages in websites violating its policy, and tripled its detection classifiers to 330. It removed ads from 28 million pages on websites for policy violations. It terminated 734,000 publishers and app developers from its ad network, and removed ads from nearly 1.5 million apps.
  • It verified 143,000 election ads in the US, a process which is ongoing for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. However, Google did not disclose how many election ad it banned or took down for policy violations.
  • To tackle misinformation and low-quality sites, Google removed ads from 1.2 million pages, over 22,000 apps, and 15,000 sites on its ad network policy violations relating to misrepresentation, hateful or other low-quality content
  • It removed ads from 74,000 pages and removed 190,000 ads for violating its “dangerous or derogatory” content policy, which prohibits hate speech
  • The company said that it is introducing a new Ad Policy Manager in April to give tips to those creating and posting ads to avoid listing non-compliant ads in the first place.

Taking down an ad fraud operation: Google worked with the White Ops, the FBI and others to take down “one of the largest and most complex” international ad fraud operations. Google carried out a “coordinated takedown of their infrastructure” and referred the case of the FBI, which charged 8 people with crimes for aggravated identity theft and money laundering. Codenamed 3eve, the operation used “sophisticated tactics” exploiting data centers, computers infected with malware, spoofed fraudulent domains and fake websites. It produced 10,000 spoofed, fraudulent domains, and generated over 3 billion daily bid requests.

Crypto ads in the past year: Google’s work on crypto ads in already in place, it imposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrency and ICO ads in June last year, after eventually modifying the ban a few months later to include ads from “regulated cryptocurreny ads in US and Japan”. Google said it would verify advertisers who run crypto ads, something which it does for political ads in Brazil, India, and the US. Facebook also has a restricted ban on crypto ads, while Twitter has a larger ban in place.

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