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Google Took Down 2.3 Billion Bad Ads in 2018

Google this week revealed that it took down 2.3 billion bad ads last year, including 58.8 million phishing ads.

The ads were taken down for violations of both new and existing policies, and the Internet company said it faced challenges in areas where online advertising was used to scam or defraud users offline.

Google this week revealed that it took down 2.3 billion bad ads last year, including 58.8 million phishing ads.

The ads were taken down for violations of both new and existing policies, and the Internet company said it faced challenges in areas where online advertising was used to scam or defraud users offline.

Overall, Google introduced 31 new ads policies in 2018, aiming to address abuses in areas such as third-party tech support, ticket resellers, crypto-currency and local services (garage door repairmen, bail bonds and addiction treatment facilities).

Last year, the company introduced a new policy banning ads from for-profit bail bond providers, due to evidence of abuse in vulnerable communities, and also restricted advertising following an increase in ads promoting deceptive experiences to users seeking addiction treatment services.

Of the 2.3 billion bad ads Google took down in 2018 (at a rate of more than six million bad ads every day), nearly 207,000 were for ticket resellers and over 531,000 ads for bail bonds.

Next month, the search company will launch a new policy manager in Google Ads which, similar to the AdSense Policy Center, “will give tips on common policy mistakes to help well-meaning advertisers and make it easier to create and launch compliant ads.”

Last year, the company also went after the actors behind numerous bad ads and said it was able to identify and terminate nearly one million bad advertiser accounts.

“When we take action at the account level, it helps to address the root cause of bad ads and better protect our users,” Google notes.

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After introducing a more granular removal of ads in 2017, Google launched 330 detection classifiers last year to better detect bad ads at the page level.

This allowed the company to terminate nearly 734,000 publishers and app developers from its ad network, as well as to remove ads completely from nearly 1.5 million apps. It also allowed it to take ads off of nearly 28 million pages.

In 2018, the company introduced a new policy for election ads in the U.S. ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and verified nearly 143,000 election ads, in addition to launching a new political ads transparency report. Similar tools are being launched ahead of elections in the EU and India.

In an attempt to tackle misinformation and low-quality websites, Google removed ads from approximately 1.2 million pages, more than 22,000 apps, and nearly 15,000 sites last year.

Ads from almost 74,000 pages were removed for violating their “dangerous or derogatory” content policy. 190,000 ads were taken down for violating this policy.

Also in 2018, Google worked closely with cyber-security firm White Ops, the FBI, and others to take down a complex international ad fraud operation called ‘3ve’, which “produced more than 10,000 spoofed, fraudulent domains, and generated over 3 billion daily bid requests at its peak.”

Related: Sophisticated ‘3ve’ Ad Fraud Scheme Dismantled, Operators Indicted

Related: Google Fights Tech Support Scams With New Ad Restrictions

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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