Google’s Three Major Challenges: Why Scam Ads Are Still Prevalent?

Google’s Three Major Challenges: Why Scam Ads Are Still Prevalent?

Google has faced much criticism regarding the rampant issue of scam ads in recent years. In response to this, Google held the event “Decoding Google: Digital Ad Security” on August 1st to explain the review mechanism behind digital advertising. The company emphasized that they have already removed and blocked 5.2 billion illegal ads in 2022. Interestingly, part of the reason for the low takedown rate is that many reported content “was not actually advertisements,” giving outsiders a deeper understanding of Google’s situation.

Google’s Advertising Review Mechanism

Google’s advertising review mechanism consists of three stages: AI scanning, manual review, and user reports. In addition to comprehensive reviews, Google also launched the “Financial Services Advertising Verification Program” in Taiwan last year to strengthen the regulation of financial service ads. According to Robin Lee, the project manager of MyGoPen, the Taiwan Fact-Checking Team, the regulations under this program are even stricter.

Explanation of the Three Difficulties of the Ad dismissal rate

Many people have questioned why Google keeps seeing scam ads on websites after Google blocks so many ads. Chih-Chen Lee, Vice General Manager of Google Taiwan Customer Solutions, explained that this involves four types of ad formats, two of which are more difficult for Google to govern. The low 60% takedown rate is also due to three main misconceptions, including misidentifying creative content, web pages, and hyperlinks as “advertisements” in the reporting process. The following three points explain the main reasons for the low takedown rate of scam ads.

  1. Content: Not all cases reported by the competent authorities are advertisements. Sometimes these are simply content shared by creators, such as product introduction videos on YouTube. This content is not covered by the advertising policies, so Google cannot remove it.
  2. Web Pages: Some cases involve web pages found through Google searches, which may contain fraudulent information. However, since these pages do not belong to Google, the company cannot directly take them down. Google can only block them when the web pages try to promote Google ads.
  3. Hyperlinks: Some scams are conducted through “clicking on links.” Google can ensure that platforms no longer display ads with these links, but it cannot forcibly close the websites behind these links. Even if the ads disappear from the Google platform, the ads behind the links may still exist.

Government Collaboration and User Protection Suggestions

Google is actively collaborating with government agencies to establish exclusive reporting channels, especially with the Financial Supervisory Commission and the Criminal Investigation Bureau, to improve the efficiency and accuracy of reporting. In addition, Google encourages users to utilize the Ad Information Center and “My Ads Center” to strengthen their own protection. Robin Lee, the project manager of MyGoPen, recommends that users maintain a “zero-trust” attitude towards on line information, being more skeptical and adopting a perspective of empathy to block scam incidents.