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Google has disabled more than 5 million payday loan ads

Elizabeth Barry 30 January 2017

google ads

The technology giant announced how it "fought bad ads, sites and scammers", including payday lenders, in 2016.

In a recent blog post, Google announced that it has disabled more than 5 million payday loan ads since it introduced a ban on the ads in July of this year. The company also took action on 8,000 sites promoting payday loans.

Google's ban on payday loan ads applies to payday loans and some related products where the repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue. In the US, ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher have also been banned.

Google's blog post detailed the number of ads it had disabled for going against this and its other policies in 2016. In the post, Google said its policies are there "in order to protect people from misleading, inappropriate, or harmful ads".

As well as payday loan ads, Google also disabled more than 68 million ads for healthcare violations, 17 million ads for illegal gambling violations and nearly 80 million for deceiving, misleading and shocking users. In total, the tech giant removed 1.7 billion ads that violated its advertising policies, more than double the number from 2015.

Google's ban on payday loan ads did not come without controversy. While many supported the decision, the blog post announcing the change was riddled with responses from concerned users saying Google was policing the Internet and also criticised Google's own investment, through its holding company Alphabet, in a US small loan company called LendUp.

There was also a problem with a blanket global policy for a product that is very different in each country. In Australia, Google's ban was found to have made payday loans more expensive.

Google said the investment it makes in detecting bad ads will contribute to a better online experience for all.

"A free and open web is a vital resource for people and businesses around the world," the blog post said. "This commitment (to removing bad ads) has made the web a better place for you—and a worse place for those who seek to abuse advertising systems for their own gain."

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