Google is giving the boot to websites that push coronavirus conspiracy theories using its google ads platform.
Starting Aug. 18, Google will no longer allow publishers that promote coronavirus conspiracies to monetize their sites with Google ads. The policy change allows the search giant leeway to ban ads on certain pages or to block an entire website from its advertising platform.
Google already bans from its ad network websites publishing medical misinformation that can harm others. This new policy expands that to include broader COVID-19 conspiracies, such as ones spreading misinfo about possible vaccines.
“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,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement.
Along with many other tech companies, Google has struggled to maintain balance with content concerning the global pandemic. Earlier in 2020, the search engine banned non-governmental advertisers from running ads on its network.
The Google-owned YouTube also made it difficult for creators to monetize coronavirus-related videos. The company originally classified COVID-19 as a “sensitive topic” which is company policy in order to stop people from capitalizing off of delicate breaking events. This policy also helps keep brands’ advertisements off potentially inappropriate content.
As the coronavirus shifted from a potential problem to a full-on pandemic affecting everyday life in the U.S., YouTube revised its policies in order to let more creators monetize COVID-19 content. Google also changed its policies which limited who can run coronavirus-related search ads.
However, Google and other tech companies are making it clear that they still won’t stand for harmful conspiracy theories and misinformation about the pandemic. Facebook, for example, has been promoting the World Health Organization’s website to users who like coronavirus conspiracies. Instagram has even banned users who pushed fake COVID-related schemes.
Google has already removed more than 200 million coronavirus-related ads that went against its policies. The company made $135 billion from its advertising program last year.
This news was originally published at pk.mashable.com