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Microsoft outlaws all tech support ads on Bing

Microsoft has made a slight change to the terms and conditions of its Bing search engine in an attempt to make it safer for users. The company will no longer allow advertising for IT support services to be delivered alongside search results.

“Serious quality issues that can impact end user safety” are cited as the reason behind this change to the Bing Ads User Safety Policy, according to a report from Ars Technica.  Microsoft has no quarrel with legitimate tech support agencies, but it seems that the prevalence of nuisance ads has forced the company’s hand.

Ads for less reputable tech support services might use panic-inducing imagery and language to suggest that there are major problems with the user’s system. This strategy preys on the uninformed, and is rarely linked to firms that offer good service at a fair price.

Related: Cortana is smarter than ever, but now she won’t search without Bing and Edge

It’s good to see Microsoft enforcing policy that’s designed to protect its users from being targeted by untoward companies and services. These ads are largely intended to convince novice PC users to pay for things that they don’t need, but they can also be used as a method of distributing malware to their systems.

Microsoft isn’t the only company attempting to stand up for its users, as Google made a similar change to its advertising limitations earlier this week. It was announced on Wednesday that the search giant will ban ads for payday loans starting from July 13, 2016.

It remains to be seen whether this move will help Microsoft’s search engine compete with Google. Both companies are attempting to appeal to users with consumer-friendly ad policies — but figures from last year stated that even though Bing’s audience was growing, it still only accounted for 20 percent of search queries in the United States.