Starting August, Google will ban advertisements that are running next to debunked COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Under Google’s new policy, supervisors will now have the ability to entirely remove ads from certain articles, in addition, they can now ban all advertisements for websites that do not comply or violate the new rules, according to CNBC. Google will ban previous banned ads that have made harmful claims about prevention and treatment of the virus.
Google will ban advertisements that are more broadly about Coronavirus conspiracy theories, similar to the debunked involvement of Bill Gates, or to unsubstantiated link to 5G networks. The policy will be effective starting August 18th, and infringements made will be counted on a percentage threshold.
This decision made by Google came after several health officials blamed rampant COVID-19 hoaxes for spreading misinformation and fear online. Even though this new rule prevents publishers from profiting from viral articles about Coronavirus that are purposely misleading, experts advise that people read medical content with caution and check whether the information provided is coming from a credible online source.
Even though this isn’t the first time Google will ban advertisements that appear next to false information, this new ban will be more targeted at the false information that is surrounding the Coronavirus. Google has made headlines in the past for banning ad revenue on articles that contain conspiracy theories regarding diseases and potential cures, specifically anti-treatment and anti-vaccine views that can cause death or bodily harm. It is important to note that in 2019 for example, advertising accounted for more than 70% of Google’s reported revenue.