Google punished sites that provided fake goods and illegal gambling.
Google punished sites that provided fake goods and illegal gambling. Image: Google.

Google published an official blog post on Wednesday detailing their fight against bad ads and sites in 2016. The report describes how the search giant combats misleading publicity, fake news, and harmful malware that escapes AdSense filters.

Alphabet’s top subsidiary revealed several year-over-year numbers that show how the battle against malicious online advertisement not only is an ongoing one, but it is also getting bigger in scale.

AdWords publicity policies establish tiers for ads on the platform, ranging from prohibited content to editorial and technical pieces that represent no issue to Google’s team of product managers and maintenance engineers.

Google’s 2016 in numbers: Nearly 2 billion ads taken down

Last year alone, the company took down 1.7 billion ads in total from sites across the web, more than twice as much shady publicity than reported in 2015.

Google broke down the massive amount of bad ads into categories, registering 112 million “trick to click” and 5 million payday loan ads removed in 2016. Numbers increased six-fold for the first type between 2015 and last year.

The tech giant disabled over four times the amount of pharmaceutical scams online than it did two years ago. Combined with illegal gambling promotion, the number of ads taken down in 2016 reaches 85 million.

Google cracked down on diet scam sites and tabloid cloaking
Google cracked down on diet scam sites and tabloid cloaking. Image: Google.

Another 80 million pieces of misleading or shocking campaigns disappeared from the web after the Google team located them. Engineers also neutralized 7 million more ads that managed to bypass AdSense filters with tricks.

900,000 banners vanished following a further inspection that determined they served as cover for malware and downloaded it to unsuspecting users who clicked on them.

On mobile platforms, the firm reported an alarming increase in bad ads, with 23,000 detected threats over the last year. Account suspension and site blocking reached all-time highs for violating content policies.

Google punished 76,000 sites in total for profiting from promoting scams, hosting malware under cover of darkness, and advertising fake goods. Nearly 7,000 accounts were suspended for the same reasons and also for posting ads as news headlines in a new practice called “tabloid cloaking.”

How is Google fighting bad ads online?

Although bad ads and sites are nothing new, they are an ever-expanding and diversifying phenomenon that is taking over the web. To fight them, Google amplified the scope of its content policies to include new and rising ad categories that wreak havoc among users online.

On top of this, the tech giant has an extensive team of specialists dedicated to detecting and mitigating the effects of these annoyances that plague users while surfing the web.

Through its main subsidiary, Alphabet also supports the Coalition for Better Ads, an initiative that tries to prevent dangerous or potentially harmful experiences among users online.

Source: Google