Google says it will prohibit websites and apps from using its ad platform to publish advertisements next to “dangerous content” promoting any statement that “contradicts scientific consensus” about the novel coronavirus.
It also will bar advertisements that promote the same type of information. If a website or app exceeds a threshold of content or advertisements that violate the policy, it will bar the site or app from its platform, CNBC said.
Among the types of content and ads that will not be permitted include claims that the novel coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab as a bioweapon, that it was created by Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates or that the virus is a hoax, Google said in a statement.
Google said its new directive will go into effect on Aug. 18 and is an extension of its policy that already prohibits “harmful or dangerous” claims about disease prevention and unsubstantiated cures, such as miracle cures or anti-vaccination content.
“We are putting additional safeguards in place by expanding our harmful health claims policies for both publishers and advertisers to include dangerous content about a health crisis that contradicts scientific consensus,” Google said in a statement.
The policy won’t apply to content that reports the existence of the theories or contradicts them.
Google briefly banned all non-government coronavirus-related material in March, but dropped it after complaints from Democratic campaign organizations.
It modified the position to allow only certain institutions to run ads about the coronavirus pandemic, including government organizations and healthcare providers, to prevent activities like price-gouging on medical supplies.
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