San Francisco: Google blocked over 99 million Covid-related ads in 2020, including those for miracle cures, N95 masks due to supply shortages and fake vaccine doses.
As claims and conspiracies about the coronavirus’s origin and spread were circulated online, Google launched a new policy to prohibit both ads and monetised content about Covid-19 or other global health emergencies that contradict scientific consensus.
“We continue to be nimble, tracking bad actors’ behavior and learning from it. In doing so, we’re able to better prepare for future scams and claims that may arise,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The number of ad accounts Google disabled for policy violations increased by 70 per cent from 1 million to over 1.7 million.
The company also blocked or removed over 867 million ads for attempting to evade its detection systems, including cloaking, and an additional 101 million ads for violating its misrepresentation policies.
“We also continued to invest in our automated detection technology to effectively scan the web for publisher policy compliance at scale,” said the company.
Due to this investment, along with several new policies, Google removed ads from 1.3 billion publisher pages in 2020, up from 21 million in 2019.
It also stopped ads from serving on over 1.6 million publisher sites with pervasive or egregious violations.
Over the past few years, we introduced strict policies and restrictions around who can run election-related advertising on Google platform and the ways they can target ads.
“Globally, we continue to expand our verification programme and verified more than 5,400 additional election advertisers in 2020,” Google said.
In the US, Google temporarily paused more than five million ads and blocked ads on over three billion Search queries referencing the election, the candidates or its outcome.