Enabling a Safe Digital Advertising Ecosystem

Google has a crucial stake in a healthy and sustainable digital
advertising ecosystem—something we’ve worked to enable for nearly
20 years. Every day, we invest significant team hours and
technological resources in protecting the users, advertisers and
publishers that make the internet so useful. And
every year
, we share key actions and data about our efforts to
keep the ecosystem safe by enforcing our policies across
platforms.

Bad ads taken down
Dozens of new ads policies to take down billions of bad
ads

In 2018, we faced new challenges in areas where online
advertising could be used to scam or defraud users offline. For
example, we created
a new policy
banning ads from for-profit bail bond providers
because we saw evidence that this sector was taking advantage of
vulnerable communities. Similarly, when we saw a rise in ads
promoting deceptive experiences to users seeking addiction
treatment services, we consulted with experts and restricted
advertising to certified organizations. In all, we introduced 31
new ads policies in 2018 to address abuses in areas including
third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and
local services such as garage door repairmen, bail bonds and
addiction treatment facilities.

We took down 2.3 billion bad ads in 2018 for violations of both
new and existing policies, including nearly 207,000 ads for ticket
resellers, over 531,000 ads for bail bonds and approximately 58.8
million phishing ads. Overall, that’s more than six million bad
ads, every day.

Ticket Resellers

As we continue to protect users from bad ads, we’re also
working to make it easier for advertisers to ensure their creatives
are policy compliant. Similar to our
AdSense Policy Center
, next month we’ll launch a new Policy
manager
in Google Ads that will give tips on common policy
mistakes to help well-meaning advertisers and make it easier to
create and launch compliant ads.

Taking on bad actors with improved technology

Last year, we also made a concerted effort to go after the bad
actors behind numerous bad ads, not just the ads themselves. Using
improved machine learning technology, we were able to identify and
terminate almost one million bad advertiser accounts, nearly double
the amount we terminated in 2017. When we take action at the
account level, it helps to address the root cause of bad ads and
better protect our users.

In 2017, we launched new technology that allows for more
granular removal of ads from websites when only a small number of
pages on a site are violating our policies. In 2018, we launched
330 detection classifiers to help us better detect “badness” at the
page level—that’s nearly three times the number of classifiers we
launched in 2017. So while we terminated nearly 734,000 publishers
and app developers from our ad network, and removed ads completely
from nearly 1.5 million apps, we were also able to take more
granular action by taking ads off of nearly 28 million pages that
violated our publisher policies. We use a combination of manual
reviews and machine learning to catch these kinds of
violations.

Addressing key challenges within the digital ads ecosystem

From reports of “fake news” sites, to questions about who is
purchasing political ads, to massive ad fraud operations, there are
fundamental concerns about the role of online advertising in
society. Last year, we launched a
new policy
for election ads in the U.S. ahead of the 2018
midterm elections. We verified nearly 143,000 election ads in the
U.S. and launched a new
political ads transparency report
that gives more information
about who bought election ads. And in 2019, we’re launching
similar tools ahead of elections in the
EU
and
India
.

We also continued to tackle the challenge of misinformation and
low-quality sites, using several different policies to ensure our
ads are supporting legitimate, high-quality publishers. In 2018, we
removed ads from approximately 1.2 million pages, more than 22,000
apps, and nearly 15,000 sites across our ad network for violations
of policies directed at misrepresentative, hateful or other
low-quality content. More specifically, we removed ads from almost
74,000 pages for violating our “dangerous or derogatory”
content policy, and took down approximately 190,000 ads for
violating this policy. This policy includes a prohibition on hate
speech and protects our users, advertisers and publishers from
hateful content across platforms.  

How we took down one of the biggest ad fraud operations
ever in 2018

In 2018, we worked closely with cybersecurity firm White Ops,
the FBI, and others in the industry to take down one of the largest
and most complex international ad fraud operations we’ve ever
seen. Codenamed “3ve”, the operation used sophisticated tactics
aimed at exploiting data centers, computers infected with malware,
spoofed fraudulent domains and fake websites. In aggregate, 3ve
produced more than 10,000 counterfeit domains, and generated over 3
billion daily bid requests at its peak.

3ve tried to evade our enforcements, but we conducted a
coordinated takedown of their infrastructure. We referred the case
to the FBI, and late last year charges were announced against eight
individuals for crimes including aggravated identity theft and
money laundering. Learn more about 3ve and our work to take it down
on our
Security Blog
, as well as through this
white paper
that we co-authored with White Ops.

We will continue to tackle these issues because as new trends
and online experiences emerge, so do new scams and bad actors. In
2019, our work to protect users and enable a safe advertising
ecosystem that works well for legitimate advertisers and publishers
continues to be a top priority.

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
Enabling a Safe Digital Advertising Ecosystem