Technology

Google bans ads on coronavirus conspiracy theory content

The search engine updated its policy as the health crisis continued in the United States, and digital advertising giants like Google and Facebook Inc. have faced calls to do more to suppress misinformation.

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday it would ban websites and applications that use its ad technology from displaying ads in “dangerous content” that runs counter to scientific consensus during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The world’s largest search engine has updated its policy as the health crisis continued in the United States, and digital advertising giants like Google and Facebook Inc. have faced calls to do more to curb disinformation.

Content not allowed to make money from ads includes debunked conspiracy theories, such as the notion that the new Coronavirus was created in a Chinese laboratory as a biological weapon, that it was created by Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates, or that the virus is a hoax, Google said in a statement.

Google already bans ads with harmful content such as “miracle” health cures or ones that promote the anti-vaccination movement. It also prevents ads from running in publisher content that encourages those themes.

Google’s new policy will also prevent advertisers from creating their own ads promoting Coronavirus conspiracy theories.

Google allows only certain institutions to post announcements about the Coronavirus pandemic, including government organizations and healthcare providers, to avoid activities such as rising prices for medical supplies.

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