Google issues ban against COVID-19 conspiracy ads

Tech giant Google is curbing the spread of misinformation on its platform by banning ads that peddle conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are rampant nowadays, and the spread of the coronavirus is exacerbating it. While most conspiracy theories thrive on social media platforms, Google is also a honeypot of these conspiracies. One of the most exploited components of the search giant is its massive advertisement platform that incentivizes conspiracy ads.

An effort to cut revenue stream

Many conspiracy theory groups fund their operations by running ads on their website. On that note, Google is the largest advertisement online platform. Thus the tech giant’s platform is indirectly providing a revenue stream for these conspiracy websites.

Recent reports claim that the tech giant will start imposing these new ad rules next month. Aside from blocking these conspiracy ads, the tech giant will also prevent the creation of new ones. The company is planning to use both human and artificial intelligence to detect such ads.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson explains:

“We are putting additional safeguards in place by expanding our harmful health claims policies for both publishers and advertisers to include dangerous content about a health crisis that contradicts scientific consensus.”

Continuing the fight against the virus and misinformation

In April, the tech giant said that it is investing $6.5 million to help fight misinformation on its platform. The surge of the coronavirus pandemic helped propel false clinical claims about the virus. Social media platforms and search engines are awash with ads containing conspiracy theories.

Tech giants like Apple and Facebook have also said that they will improve the filters on their platforms. These filters are necessary for making sure that no false or misleading content is shared on their platforms.

On Apple’s platform, the company is now rejecting mobile apps that are related to coronavirus conspiracies. Apple only allows medical apps that are from or approved by official health organizations.

On Twitter’s platform, the social networking giant is banning tweets about fake coronavirus cures. The company is also removing false medical claims and conspiracies on its platform. Even United States President Donald Trump was on the receiving end of these new restrictions.

On Facebook, the company has established a COVID-19 information center that debunks common misconceptions about the virus. The platform is banning ads that peddle fake news and unverified claims about coronavirus.

Google is a powerful platform for spreading information. However, many hoax peddlers are also using the platform to spread misinformation.

Image courtesy of Alex Ruhl/Shutterstock

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