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Google restricted 2.6 billion more ads as fraud spikes

Google’s AI update: Identifying scammers, 10 key takeaways

Google restricted 2.6 billion more ads in 2023 than the 4.3 billion it restricted in 2022.

The big tech company said this is because scams and fraud across all online platforms rose significantly in 2023.

“Bad actors are constantly evolving their tactics to manipulate digital advertising in order to scam people and legitimate businesses alike. To counter these ever-shifting threats, we quickly updated policies, deployed rapid-response enforcement teams, and sharpened our detection techniques,” Google explained.

Read also: France fines Google $271 million for using news content

The tech company disclosed in its ‘Ads Safety Report 2023’ that it blocked 5.5 billion ads in the past year. Generative artificial intelligence played a crucial role in ad efforts this year, it stated. Google highlighted that the new technology introduced significant changes to the digital advertising industry, from performance optimization to image editing.

In 2023, 5.5 billion bad ads were blocked or removed. These included 30 million for misinformation, 39.6 million for inappropriate content, 1.04 billion for abusing the ad network, 548.2 million for trademark issues, 206.5 million for misrepresentation, 94.6 million for adult content, and more.

Duncan Lennox, vice president and general manager of Ads Privacy and Safety, said, “The fight against scam ads is an ongoing effort, as we see bad actors operating with more sophistication, at a greater scale, using new tactics such as deepfakes to deceive people.

“We’ll continue to dedicate extensive resources, make significant investments in detection technology, and partner with organisations like the Global Anti-Scam Alliance and Stop Scams UK to facilitate information sharing and protect consumers worldwide.”

Google disclosed that a part of protecting people from online harm hinges on its ability to respond to new abuse trends quickly. It highlighted that toward the end of 2023 and into 2024, it faced a targeted campaign of ads featuring the likeness of public figures to scam users, often through deepfakes.

“When we detected this threat, we created a dedicated team to respond immediately… We also updated our misrepresentation policy to better enable us to rapidly suspend the accounts of bad actors,” Google added.