Google Fails to Remove COVID-19 Based Targeted Ads, Causes Outrage

The global shortage of medical supplies may cause panic. Targeted ads are not helping the case. Photo via Pexels.

Journalist Peter Kafka was among the first people to call out Google LLC for failing to ban all the medical face masks adverts. His twitter posts from March 21 include screencaps of the targeted face masks ads integrated into a New York Times article. That NYT piece, noted by Peter Kafka, was dedicated to a shortage of medical supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He also offered his insight: “Google [has] the same problems when they want to police it. Here [it] looks like the mask sellers avoided Google’s mask detectors by not using the word “mask” in the ad, and using an image that doesn’t look like other images of a mask.”

“They have lots of incentive to game the system.”

On March 10, Google LLC officially claimed to put a ban on all the medical face masks adverts. The aim was to minimize the blatant monetization of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then the virus situation has worsened all over the world. Yet multiple people still claim to see targeted face masks ads online, right after interacting with Coronavirus-related topics.

While Google initially admitted that removing the entire category of advertisements might take a while, the exact amount of time was never specified.


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