Fighting 'bad ads,' Google targets cryptocurrency advertisements

By Susan McFarland  |  March 14, 2018 at 8:03 AM
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March 14 (UPI) -- In an effort to crackdown on what it calls "bad ads," tech giant Google said starting this summer it will ban online advertisements for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.

Google said the policy change, announced Wednesday, also goes for its YouTube platform -- as bitcoin and other virtual currencies become more popular and scammers use web ads to promote fraudulent schemes.

Facebook took a similar step in January when it banned cryptocurrencies and "speculative financial products" across its advertising platforms.

In response, some businesses found a loophole and intentionally misspelled words like "bitcoin" in advertisements to get around the block. Google, though, said it's anticipating that tactic.

Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, said as consumer trends evolve and Google's methods to protect the open web get better, so do online scams.

"Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that's removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us," Spencer said.

Google's updated policy includes its annual "bad ads" report, which shares numbers of malicious, deceptive and controversial ads the company scrubs. Last year, Google removed more than 3.2 billion ads from the web, up from 1.7 billion in 2016.

The company also pulled 79 million ads for malware websites, suspended 7,000 customer accounts with ads for phony news and blocked more than 12,000 sites for copying information from other publications.

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