Google blocked over 99 million COVID-19 fake advertisements in 2020
In the year 2020, Google blocked over 99 million Covid-related ads. Some of these advertisements included those for miracle cures, N95 masks supply shortages, and fake vaccine doses.
There has been a significant increase in claims and conspiracies about the disease's origin and spread circulated online. Then Google launched a new policy to prohibit both ads and monetised content about Covid-19 and other global health emergencies that contradict scientific statements.
On Wednesday, the company in a statement said, "We continue to be nimble, track bad actors' behavior and learn from it. In doing so, we are now able to better prepare for future scams and claims that may arise."
The number of ad accounts Google disabled for policy violations increased by 70 percent from 1 million to over 1.7 million.
In addition to disabling the ads, the company also blocked or removed over 867 million ads for attempting to evade its detection systems for cloaking. Also, reportedly 101 million ads were removed for violating its misrepresentation policies.
The company in their statement also added, "We continued to invest in our automated detection technology so that we can effectively scan the web for publisher policy compliance at large scale.” This investment and other new policies by the company led to disabling of ads from 1.3 billion publisher pages in 2020, up from 21 million in 2019.
The new policies also stopped ads from serving on over 1.6 million publisher sites with pervasive or egregious violations.
Google also shared that the past few years, they introduced strict policies and restrictions around who can run election-related advertising on the Google platform and the ways they can target ads. "We continue to expand globally, our verification program. We also verified more than 5,400 additional election advertisers in 2020," Google reported.
In the United States, Google temporarily paused more than five million ads. The search platform even blocked ads on over three billion search queries referencing the election, the candidates, or its outcome.
*Edited from an IANS report.