Google will block ads that exploit or dismiss the Russia-Ukraine war

Alphabetically owned Google will not allow websites, apps and YouTube channels to sell ads with content that it believes exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. company said Wednesday.

Google, whose advertising software helps publishers generate revenue, prevents ads from appearing next to content that incites violence and denies tragic events. It is widely applying those principles to war.

“We can be sure that we are taking additional steps to clarify this, and in some cases we are expanding our monetization guidelines because they relate to the war in Ukraine,” said Google spokesman Michael Asiman.

In an email to publishers seen by Reuters, Google said the ads would not run side by side, for example, “claims implying that victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar to blaming victims, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

Google has also banned ads that capitalize on sensitive events and has applied that policy to war.

Senior Russian officials say Western media have misreported the conflict in Ukraine, calling it a “special operation” to disarm the country.

The Interfax news agency reported Wednesday that Russia’s communications regulator had blocked Google News, Google’s aggregator service, accusing it of allowing access to what Russia called “fake material” about the military operation in Ukraine.

Many major Western advertising and social media services have announced new content and funding restrictions around the conflict, including blocking Russian state media RT and Sputnik in the European Union.

Earlier this month, Google said it had stopped selling all online ads in Russia.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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