Google to ban ads from appearing next to coronavirus conspiracy theories

Google will reportedly ban advertisements from running alongside debunked coronavirus conspiracy theories, starting in August.

Under the new policy, supervisors will be able to remove entire ads from articles, as well as ban all advertisements for websites that violate the new rule on multiple occasions, according to CNBC. Google had previously banned ads that made harmful claims about prevention and treatment of the coronavirus.

The new ban applies more broadly to a host of coronavirus conspiracy theories, such as the debunked involvement of billionaire Bill Gates or unsubstantiated links to 5G networks, CNBC reported.

The policy will be implemented on August 18, and infringements will be counted on a percentage threshold, CNBC reported.

Digital Trends reached out to Google for confirmation of the new policy. We will update this story when we hear back. 

This decision comes after health officials blamed rampant coronavirus hoaxes for spreading fear and misinformation online. While this new rule will prevent publishers from profiting from viral misleading articles about the outbreak, experts still suggest that readers consider the source, read the information with a thorough and wary eye, and do their own research before buying into coronavirus rumors. 

While this isn’t Google’s first time addressing ads that appear next to false information, this new ban seeks to deal with the wave of false information surrounding the disease.

Previously, Google made headlines for banning ad revenue on articles that include conspiracy theories about diseases and potential cures, especially anti-vaccine and anti-treatment views that could cause bodily harm and death.

In 2019, advertising accounted for over 70% of Google’s reported revenue, earning the tech company over $135 billion with the help of ad managers.

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