Google Removed Search Ads Targeting Users Searching For Voting Information

On Monday, Alphabet Inc’s Google said that they had removed search ads that charge users who are searching for voting information, have large fees for voter registration, or harvested their personal data.

The spokeswoman of Google said that the company’s misrepresentation policy will bare these ads. Such ads were found by Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog, while they were searching for terms such as vote by mail, register to vote, and where is my polling place.

On Monday, in a report, Tech Transparency Project said that more than 600 or nearly a third of the ads generated by Google’s searches took users to separate sites then they try to charge a hefty sum for voter registration services or extract personal data for marketing purposes, serve other misleading ads, or install deceptive browser extensions.

The report stated that in a Google search the first ad for the register to vote directed users to PrivacyWall.org. It charged the $129 for same-day processing. In the U.S., voters do not need to pay any amount to get register to vote.

A spokeswoman of the company said that Google did not know how the ads got through the approval process. It process uses a combination of manual and automated review.

The spokeswoman said, “We have strict policies in place to protect users from false information about voting procedures, and when we find ads that violate our policies and present harm to users, we remove them and block advertisers from running similar ads in the future.”

The TTP report said, “Some people may find it difficult to distinguish Google ads from other kinds of content because as of January, search ads on Google feature the same typeface and color scheme as organic search results.”

The announcement comes in the wake of social media companies and online platforms are under pressure to curb misinformation on their sites including Facebook Inc and Twitter.