How does Google’s advertising business finance worldwide disinformation?

29 October 2022 09:19 | Reading time: 2 minutes
29 October 2022 09:19
| Reading time: 2 minutes

Thousands of sites around the world manage to monetize misinformed content thanks to Google Ads. This was demonstrated by a ProPublica investigation. control participated together with the network that provides coordination at the regional level, LatamControl.

The investigation concludes: In Latin America, 38% of the sites that are defined by the proponents of Chequeado and LatamChequea as sites that regularly provide false information, generate revenue thanks to the Google Ads system.

It is a global issue, but it does not affect all languages ​​or countries equally. In English, the percentage is much lower: 13% of the sites identified by NewsGuard as giving false information generate revenue through the Google program, while the percentage rises to 90% in Turkey and 87% in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. and it reaches 80% in Turkey. Brazil, among others.

Percentages result from an analysis based on lists of sites identified as providing misinformation by key players in different parts of the world. It was determined how many sites from these lists implement monetization systems through Google Ads. This means that the funds of companies and brands that advertise through this system may fall on sites that provide false information.

Google funds some of the most disinformation generating sites in Europe, Latin America and Africa” indicates the ProPublica investigation.

And he continues: “It’s hard to estimate how much of Google’s revenue comes from not monetizing false and misleading content. Each of the billions of ads served by Google each day has a different price that fluctuates depending on a combination of advertiser, website, and users to whom the ad will be served. All of this is part of a complex, obscure and highly automated buying and selling process dominated by Google. This means that advertisers have to rely, in part, on a mix of automation and human review that Google uses to make sure their partners aren’t breaking the rules.”

Google spokesperson Michael Aciman told ProPublica:We develop comprehensive safeguards against misinformation on our platformWe have worked to implement our policies in more than 50 languages, including policies covering elections, COVID-19 and climate change. In 2021, we removed ads from more than 1.7 billion pages and 63,000 sites worldwide. We know we’re not done, and we will continue to invest in systems to better detect untrusted content and enforce it to protect users worldwide.”

When asked by ProPublica, Google did not provide further details on which countries or languages ​​the sites from which the ads were removed were located.

The ProPublica investigation, for its part, “The results of the checks can be used by Google to enforce its policies to prevent ads from appearing alongside untrustworthy and harmful content.. There’s more 350 checkers establishments Worldwide employing journalists, and in some cases scientists, to identify and research content disseminated on the web, social networks, and traditional media. Your ratings associated with ratings are used by platforms, including Meta, to help enforce policies regarding false and harmful content. Google is already promoting checks among Google News results to direct people to reliable information. However, the company does not use checks to ban ads on pages with untrustworthy or harmful content. Unlike Meta and TikTok, checkers don’t pay for the result of their research.”

ProPublica’s full note can be viewed in English here.

Disclosure: The Google News Initiative supports the Fundación La Voz Pública/Chequeado.

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