Google took down more than 3.2bn ‘bad ads’ last year in an effort to prevent its immense advertising network from being used for nefarious purposes, up from the 1.7bn it removed in 2016.
According to the search engine giant, it blocked 79m ads on its network last year for automatically sending people to malware-laden sites and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites.
It also blocked 66m “trick to click” ads, which often appear as system warnings to deceive users into clicking on them. Additionally, it removed 48m ads that were attempting to get users to install unwanted software.
On the publisher side, Google said it removed 320,000 bad publishers from its ad network, part of its strategy to “remove the economic incentives for sites to create and spread deceptive content online.” It also blocked nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps for policy violations.
More than 7,000 AdWords accounts were suspended for “tabloid cloaking” violations, up from 1,400 in 2016. Google defines tabloid cloakers as scammers that try to game the system by pretending to be news. Once a user clicks, they’re directed to site that’s trying to sell something like a weight-loss product, not a news story.
Google also managed to block more than 12,000 websites for “scraping,” or duplicating and copying content from other sites, last year.
According to Google, it added 28 new advertiser policies and 20 new publisher policies in 2017 to combat new threats and improve the advertising experience online.
This year, it plans to add several new policies that “will address ads in unregulated, overly complex, or speculative financial products” like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference.