Recently, Google announced they were making some important changes to their rules governing online ads. They’re adding verifications that they normally reserve for political advertisements,. This step is in a bid to combat what many industry experts are calling an ‘Infodemic’ of bad information, fake cures, and false hopes arising from the chaos surrounding the global pandemic.
The changes will require all advertisers to provide personal identification, business incorporation documents, and other records before they’re allowed to pay for ads on the platform.
A spokesman for the company had this to say about the change:
“This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”
Although this change was clearly driven by the flood of bad information and scams arising from the pandemic, it will have ramifications that extend well beyond that. Having said that, this is a massive policy shift. Although the effort is currently underway, it will likely take the company years to fully implement the change. With that in mind, the company is initially targeting advertisers in gambling, gaming, education, health, and retail, with more to follow.
It’s a good move and a big step forward. Nothing Google (or any other tech giant) does will completely eliminate scams and advertisements that have bad intentions.. This sometimes includes dangerous information products. However, it will certainly make the job of the scammers more difficult, and anything that does that is well worth the time spent implementing.
More information is almost always better, because it leads to better-informed consumers. Kudos to Google for the change.