Combating financial fraud in advertising is a top priority. And to do our part in this cross-industry effort, we’re constantly developing new tools and policies that help better protect the people who use our products and our advertising partners from bad actors.
Today we’re updating Google’s financial products and services policy to expand our verification program for financial services advertisers to Australia. This measure creates a new layer of security against fraudsters and will help further safeguard our network from financial scams.
We first launched this program in the UK in September 2021, where financial services advertisers are already required to demonstrate that they’re authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the UK Financial Services verification page. Since we launched this policy in the UK, we’ve seen a pronounced decline in reports of ads promoting financial scams. The success of this program in the UK demonstrates that this is a meaningful and effective solution to safeguarding people online and gives us confidence to expand verification to additional countries.
As part of the verification process, financial services advertisers in Australia will need to demonstrate that they are authorised by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), and have completed Google’s advertiser verification program in order to begin promoting their products and services. Advertisers will be able to apply for verification at the end of June, and the policy will go into effect on August 30, 2022. Advertisers that have not completed the new verification process by this date will no longer be allowed to promote financial services.
We work tirelessly to make sure the ads we serve are safe and trustworthy, and we know that partnering and collaborating with government regulators is critical to our success. That’s why we’re closely coordinating with the appropriate Australian regulators to make sure this program is effective at scale. In the coming months, we plan to further expand these verification requirements to advertisers in additional countries and regions.
This policy is just the latest step in our longstanding effort to tackle online fraud. We have robust policies in place to prohibit bad actors from deceiving people through tactics such as phishing, using clickbait or providing misleading information about a product, service or business. We also have strict rules about how advertisers can market financial products such as loans and debt services. Our teams continue to vigorously enforce these policies and combat scammers, using both machine learning and human reviewers to block bad ads. In 2021 alone, we blocked or removed more than 58.9 million ads for violating our financial services policies. And in 2020, we launched our advertiser verification program that will require Google advertisers to verify and disclose information about their businesses, such as where they operate from and what they’re selling or promoting. This transparency feature is now live in more than 180 countries and helps people learn more about the company and services behind a specific ad.
We remain committed to this effort and will continue to collaborate with industry and government organisations to lead on necessary changes that help fight evolving tactics from bad actors.