SAN FRANCISCO: Google blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads —more than 5,000 bad ads per minute and suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations, the corporate announced on Thursday.
On the publisher side, Google terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million sites that are a part of its publisher network for violating its policies.
"Terminating accounts — not just removing a private ad or page — is an especially effective enforcement tool that we use if advertisers or publishers engage in egregious policy violations or have a history of violating policy," Scott Spencer, vice president of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety, said during a statement.
Google said that it's now closely monitoring advertiser behaviour to guard users against ads looking to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis.
"We have a fanatical COVID-19 task force that's been working round the clock. they have built new detection technology and have also improved our existing enforcement systems to prevent bad actors," said Spencer.
"We've blocked and removed tens of many coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits," he added.
In 2019, Google assembled an indoor team to trace the patterns and signals of fraudulent advertisers into phishing and "trick-to-click".
"As a result, we saw nearly a 50 per cent decrease in bad ads served in both categories from the previous year. In total, we blocked over 35 million phishing ads and 19 million ‘trick-to-click' ads in 2019," informed Spencer.
For example, Google saw more bad actors targeting people seeking to renew their passport.
These ads mimicked real ads for renewal sites but their actual intent was to urge users to supply sensitive information like their Social Security or MasterCard number.
As more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, Google identified a rise in consumer loan ads with misleading information on lending terms.
To combat this, it broadened its policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app in order that users can make informed decisions.
"This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of those sorts of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018," said Spencer.