Google, the Big Tech giant that effectively monopolizes the search engine market has released its 2021 Ads Safety Report, to reveal that it removed more than 3.4 billion ads, restricted more than 5.7 billion, and suspended more than 5.6 million advertiser accounts over malicious use of its ads platform.
In addition to regular violations of the company’s advertising policies which would include scams, fraudulent products, and pornography, Google expanded its bans on ads relating to climate change, COVID-19, and “false claims” relating to elections.
Under its policies, Google claims that “user safety” remains the company’s top priority when making decisions about ads and other forms of monetized content which make up the bulk of its business revenues.
As detailed by the report, Google introduced a new policy in 2021 to include a multi-strike system for what the company decides are policy violations. Over 30 policies for advertisers and publishers were either added or updated last year.
Reclaim the Net reports that among the new list of prohibited content, is “climate change denial,” which is filed under “unreliable claims.” It is designed to prevent advertisers from contradicting what Google has decided is the scientific consensus on climate change. The policy applies to both questioning whether the phenomenon actually exists to who or what might be causing it.
According to mainstream scientific views, humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change through the release of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide and methane, which are produced as industrial pollution.
In addition to blocking ads questioning climate change, Google has also blocked half a million pages for allegedly containing harmful medical advice or health information about the COVID-19 pandemic, and what Google regards as “demonstrably false claims” with the potential to undermine participation in Democratic elections.
“We blocked ads from running on more than 500,000 pages that violated our policies against harmful health claims related to COVID-19 and demonstrably false claims that could undermine trust and participation in elections,” Google wrote.
As detailed by Reclaim the Net, Google spent $250 million on NGOs and government through its “Ad Grants” program throughout the course of the pandemic to promote what it considers “accurate vaccine information.”
The number of suspended advertiser accounts tripled last year. Google reports that “bad actors” (as they relate to the pandemic) are working in more sophisticated ways and using different tactics to evade the tech giant’s detection. Accounts of advertisers who do not complete Google’s verification program are automatically suspended, and the verification process is now carried out in 180 countries.
This year, in addition to Covid, US elections, and climate change, Google has also been focusing on “responding” to the war in Ukraine – and the response has been to block over 8 million ads, while “pausing” ads from being displayed in Russia, and those from Russia-based advertisers.