Google took action on 47,000 sites for promoting content and products related to weight-loss scams in 2016.

Google took down 17 billion misleading ads in 2016
news Online ads Friday, January 27, 2017 - 17:35
Written by  IANS

To protect consumers from misleading, inappropriate or harmful ads, Google claimed that it took down 1.7 billion ads in 2016 that violated its advertising policies.

The number is more than double the amount of bad ads it took down in 2015, the company said in its annual "Better Ads Report".

"Bad ads promote illegal products and unrealistic offers and can trick people into sharing personal information and infect devices with harmful software. They pose a threat to users, Google's partners and the sustainability of the open web itself," Scott Spencer, Director of Product Management, Sustainable Ads, said in a statement.

Last year, Google expanded policies to better protect users from misleading and predatory offers as well as it beefed up its technology to spot and disable bad ads even faster. 

Google introduced a policy to ban ads for payday loans, which often result in unaffordable payments and high default rates for users. Within six months, the technology giant disabled more than five million payday loan ads.

Also, Google detected and disabled 112 million ads for "trick to click" ads -- six times more than in 2015.

"Trick to click" ads often appear as system warnings to deceive users into clicking on them, not realising they are often downloading harmful software or malware. 

According to the report, most common inappropriate online ads were Ads for illegal products. Google disabled more than 68 million bad ads for healthcare violations and 17 million bad ads for illegal gambling violations in 2016.

Google also removed 80 million deceiving and misleading ads that gave false information such as the ones which offered miracle cures that helped "people lose 50 pounds in three days without lifting a finger".

With the rise of a new type of scammers called, tabloid cloakers who take advantage of current trends and hot topics, Google suspended over 1,300 accounts for tabloid cloaking in 2016. 

"In December alone, Google took down 22 cloakers that were responsible for ads seen over 20 million times by people online in a single week," the company said.

Further, Google took action on 47,000 sites for promoting content and products related to weight-loss scams last year.

Google recently introduced stricter policies including the new "AdSense" content policy. The policy update enables the company to take action against website owners misrepresenting who these are and deceiving users with their content.