Google to combat fraud by giving users access to advertisers’ history and details

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Google has announced plans to allow users to get more information about companies sponsoring the ads they see. This became important to help users accurately determine whether the ad buyer is credible, following complaints about fraud on the platform. 

The decision is part of Google’s broad attempt to revamp its ad business even as it increases regulatory scrutiny. The company intends to promote transparency and consumer privacy with the use of its ad service and, as of last year, has already begun vetting the identities and locations of all its advertisers in 90 countries.

The disclosure option is expected to be available to users in the United States in the next few months, with plans to expand to more countries in 2022.

Google to combat fraud by giving users access to advertisers' history and details
Google is looking to combat fraud by allowing users to check out advertisers

With this development, Google plans to let web searchers not just see ads but also to see who the advertiser is, why the ad was served to them and some of the previous ads the advertiser has run with Google.

The company’s “About this ad” menu will now feature some basic information about advertisers to also include some of the other ads they have.

“Today, people engage with a wider variety of ad formats on more Google products than ever before — from Video ads on YouTube to Shopping ads across Search, Display and more. And they increasingly want to know more about the ads they see. That’s why we’ve been innovating on features like “About this ad” to help users understand why an ad was shown, and to mute ads or advertisers they aren’t interested in.

– Mojdeh Tomsich, Product Manager, Ads Privacy and Safety at Google

Google requires advertisers to disclose their personal information by providing documents proving who they are and the country from which they operate.

They will also be required to provide details about what they plan to sell. These are all part of the advertiser identity verification program launched last year. The details will now make up the new advert pages.

Google to combat fraud by giving users access to advertisers' history and details

In the shared screenshot, Google shows how the new advertisers’ pages will include some basic information such as the legal name of the advertiser, the country where they are located, a rough number of ads they have running and a list of the ads the advertiser has run over the past 30 days. 

The company says it has more than 30 million people engaging with its ads’ transparency and control menus on a daily basis and believes the new page menu will not only allow users to identify a fraudulent ad but also make it possible for them to report an ad for violating any of Google’s policies. 

Before now, Google had made quite a number of significant moves to sanitise its ad space. This includes a limit on political ad targeting, an integrated ad-blocking in Chrome, as well as plans to move away from third-party cookies, which have now been delayed.

These innovations, according to Google, is to “build on our efforts to create a clear and intuitive experience for users who engage with ads on Google products.”


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