Google recently announced that starting next month, it would ban the use of its advertising platform by websites which have a certain threshold of what the company terms “conspiracy theories” surrounding coronavirus.
However, the tech giant didn’t stop there as they stated they would even ban ads that feature COVID-19 conspiracies as well as disabling certain websites from accessing the advertising features.
Alphabet’s Google has already taken measures to reduce the amount of anti-vaccine content that circulates on its platform. This can be seen from its banning of ads that feature content that has to do with disease prevention claims as well as what it considers “unsubstantiated” cures.
According to the company, this is all to prevent people from being discouraged to seek treatment and any content or sites that seem to contradict authoritative scientific consensus.
The ban will cover all kinds of content including anything that has to do with claims that the virus is a bioweapon that originated from a Chinese lab, that Bill Gates created COVID-19 or that vaccines are a form of human genetic modification.
In 2019, Google made $135 billion through advertising programs such as Ad Manager and AdSense, which allow websites to run pre-programmed ads on their own websites and money through Google AdSense for example.
Google’s network Members raked in 15% of Google’s revenue within the first quarter alone. According to Google a large bulk of this amount comes from programs like Google Ad Manager, AdSense, and AdMob.
The new changes will come into effect from August 18 and will enable the company to remove ads from entire websites or particular articles. Either way, Google will give site owners a few strikes before getting demonetized completely.
This means that if a site violates these new rules, they might be given a few more chances but after that, they’ll get demonetized for good. However, Google is taking no prisoners when it comes to material that contains child sex abuse and says that they will immediately remove the website from the platform upon discovery.
The most interesting aspect of these developments is the fact that they’re happening right after CBNC revealed that Google had started running ads on Zero Hedge, a well-known financial market website.
This comes after Google had announced back in mid-June that they’d taken decisive action that would prevent Zero Hedge from continuing to operate due to comments made on the website, which apparently violated Google’s policy against derogatory and dangerous material.
According to Google, Zero Hedge was able to regain its ability to advertise on Google by appealing the demonetization decision. Their appeal became successful after Google reviewed their site to find that they had indeed implemented comment moderation and had removed the offending content as well.
This is just an early example of what the demonetization process might look like for websites that violate Google’s recently introduced policies. Most websites have already begun preparing for the changes while some will probably benefit from the three-strike policy due to missing out on the news. Either way, it doesn’t seem like Google is willing to back down on its stance anytime soon.