Google temporarily bans addiction center ads globally following exposure of seedy referral deals

The ads won’t disappear overnight, but rather will be phased out as the process works through multiple regions and languages. They’ll come back only where and when Google’s people find some way to serve them safely — minus the risk of systematic abuse.

As seems to be the standard with ad-focused companies these days, this kind of action only seems to take place after someone outside the company drags a questionable practice into the public eye. One would think such large, wealthy companies would be able to detect it first, but it is also worthwhile to remember Upton Sinclair’s observation that “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

I don’t mean to say that Google and Facebook are actively aware of wrongdoing or shady tactics on their platforms and deliberately doing nothing about it (although it’s certainly possible), and I know there are people in them that actually care about the ethics of these things. But the current system of others pointing out a problem and the companies apologizing all the way to the bank seems to be working pretty well for them. Why rock the boat?

At any rate in this case one can hardly argue with the results: people seeking help will still get it but companies preying on them will be sidelined. Here’s hoping a few more predatory advertising practices are uncovered and corrected.

Featured Image: Robert Scoble/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE

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