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Reuters are reporting that Google has said it has removed ads for companies that charge people large fees to register to vote or harvest their data, which appeared when users searched for voter information.
A Google spokeswoman told Reuters that the company’s misrepresentation policy barred such ads, which were found by the nonprofit watchdog Tech Transparency Project (TTP) when searching for terms such as “register to vote,” “vote by mail,” and “where is my polling place.”
A TTP report that nearly a third of the more than 600 ads generated by its Google searches took users to sites that try to charge large fees for voter registration services, extract personal data for marketing purposes, install deceptive browser extensions, or serve other misleading ads.
The report said: “Some people may find it difficult to distinguish Google ads from other kinds of content because as of January, search ads on Google feature the same type face and colour scheme as organic search results.”
A Google spokeswoman said the company did not yet know how the ads had got through its approval process, which uses a combination of automated and manual review.
“We have strict policies in place to protect users from false information about voting procedures, and when we find ads that violate our policies and present harm to users, we remove them and block advertisers from running similar ads in the future,” the spokeswoman said.
The move comes with social media and internet companies under increasing pressure to act over misleading and hateful content in ...
More on: www.theguardian.com