Google saved its users from 1.7 billion unacceptable ads according to its 2016 "Better Ads Report"

Google has blocked 1.7 billion misleading, malicious or inappropriate advertisements that violated the advertising policies of Google.

Google has released its ‘Better Ads Report’ for 2016, in which it says 1.7 billion misleading, malicious or inappropriate advertisements that violated the advertising policies of Google were taken down. The number is more than double the number of unsuitable ads blocked by Google over the course of 2015. In 2016, Google introduced stricter policies, allowing Google to take action against web sites that misrepresented who they were to end users.

Scott Spencer, director of product management, Sustainable Ads, said, "A free and open web is a vital resource for people and businesses around the world. And ads play a key role in ensuring you have access to accurate, quality information online. But bad ads can ruin the online experience for everyone. They promote illegal products and unrealistic offers. They can trick people into sharing personal information and infect devices with harmful software. Ultimately, bad ads pose a threat to users, Google’s partners, and the sustainability of the open web itself."

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2016 saw the advent of a new kind of malicious advertisements called tabloid cloakers. These ads would appear to be news articles related currently trending topics, including celebrities, elections or other viral subjects. When tapped or clicked on, the resulting page would sell weight loss products. This is known as a bait and switch, where the consumer expects one thing, but receives something entirely different in the end.

The number and type of malicious ads filtered by Google in 2016

The number and type of malicious ads filtered by Google in 2016

A policy was introduced in July that specifically banned advertisements for pay day loans, an exploitative practice that burdens users financially. The number of ads pretending to be a system message, to install malicious software on the machine of the users saw a six time increase over the previous year. Ads for illegal products, including healthcare violations and gambling violations were also banned. Ads that deceived, mislead or shocked users with clickbait titles offering miracle cures with bogus products were screened.

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For mobile users, self-clicking ads are irritating and automatically redirect surfers to new pages. Google saw a dramatic increase in these kinds of ads, and blocked 23,000 of these on the platform, which numbered only in a few thousands in 2015. There was a dramatic increase in the advertisements that were designed specifically to get around bad ad detection systems put in place by Google.

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