Google employs task force to get rid of fraudulent ads around COVID-19
With more consumers turning to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, Google has identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms
Google has built a dedicated COVID-19 task force to stop bad actors. The team is dedicatedly blocking ads on the basis of price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve closely monitored advertiser behavior to protect users from ads looking to take advantage of the crisis. These often come from sophisticated actors attempting to evade our enforcement systems with advanced tactics. For example, as the situation evolved, we saw a sharp spike in fraudulent ads for in-demand products like face masks. These ads promoted products listed significantly above market price, misrepresented the product quality to trick people into making a purchase or were placed by merchants who never fulfilled the orders,” said Scott Spencer, Vice President of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety in an official statement.
In 2019, Google blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads which more than 5,000 bad ads per minute. They also suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations. On the publisher side, the technology giant terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages that are part of their publisher network for violating their policies.
“In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019,” said Spencer.
Certain industries are particularly susceptible to malicious behaviour. For example, as more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, Google identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms. “To combat this, we broadened our policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app so that users can make informed decisions. This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of these types of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018,” Spencer added.
“Maintaining trust in the digital advertising ecosystem is a top priority for Google. And with global health concerns now top of mind for everyone, preparing for and responding to attempts to take advantage of our users is as important as it has ever been,” he said.
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