September 9, 2019: Since restricting ads for third-party technical support providers last year, we’ve been testing a verification program for legitimate providers. Unfortunately, our testing shows that the potential for ads that lead to abusive or misleading offline experiences in this category is still too high. As a result, we have decided to continue to block ads for third- party tech support providers until we are more confident we have a solution that will better protect our users from harm. Note: We do allow advertising for the sale of consumer technology where the landing page might contain navigational features related to technical support.
One of our top priorities is to maintain a healthy advertising ecosystem, and that means protecting people from misleading, inappropriate and harmful ads. We have teams of engineers, policy experts, product managers and others who wage a daily fight against bad actors. Over the years, this commitment has made the web a better place for our users—and a worse place for those who seek to abuse advertising systems for their own gain. Just last year alone, we took down more than 3.2 billion ads that violated our advertising policies—that’s more than 100 bad ads per second.
When we see an increase in misleading or predatory behaviors in specific categories, we take additional action. For example, we’ve banned ads for payday loans and bail bonds services—and developed advanced verification programs to fight fraud in areas like local locksmith services and addiction treatment centers.
Today, we’re taking another step. We’ve seen a rise in misleading ad experiences stemming from third-party technical support providers and have decided to begin restricting ads in this category globally. For many years, we’ve consulted and worked with law enforcement and government agencies to address abuse in this area. As the fraudulent activity takes place off our platform, it’s increasingly difficult to separate the bad actors from the legitimate providers. That’s why in the coming months, we will roll out a verification program to ensure that only legitimate providers of third-party tech support can use our platform to reach consumers.
These efforts alone won’t stop all bad actors trying to game our advertising systems, but it will make it a lot harder. There’s more to do, and we’ll continue committing the resources necessary to keep the online advertising ecosystem a safe place for everyone.