Google cracking down on false coronavirus ads with verification program

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed many facets of the human condition. On the one hand, many individuals are stepping up to help their neighbors in a huge way, and many tech companies are making their products available for free to remote workers. The flip side of this, however, has shown just how low individuals will stoop to take advantage of people already afraid and fighting for survival. Most egregious examples of this include hoarding essential supplies to price-gouge, and more recently, falsely advertising products that people desperately need to handle this crisis. These false coronavirus ads include personal protective equipment (PPEs) like surgical masks, emergency food supplies, disinfectant, over-the-counter medicine, and much more.

It is the last-named issue that Google is attempting to crack down on and hopefully slow its progression. According to a blog post written by John Canfield, Google’s director of product management, ads integrity, the tech giant is expanding its political advertising verification to fight back against false coronavirus ads. The post states the following about the steps Google will require advertisers to complete before they are allowed to post products for sale:

As part of this initiative, advertisers will be required to complete a verification program in order to buy ads on our network. Advertisers will need to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents, or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate... This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.

Canfield states that Google hopes to roll out these changes by no later than this summer. It will initially focus on ads targeted toward the United States, but will soon expand globally. Google expects the process to take a “few years” before it becomes fully effective on a global scale. This is a problem because coronavirus will likely not have a vaccine by that point, at least according to multiple authorities in the medical field.

Nevertheless, late is better than never. It is just a shame this took so long to implement. In these trying times, innocent people are being swindled by hucksters looking to capitalize on their fear.

They cannot be allowed to succeed.

Featured image: Flickr/ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Derek Kortepeter

Derek Kortepeter is a graduate of UCLA and tech journalist that is committed to creating an informed society with regards to Information Security. Kortepeter specializes in areas such as penetration testing, cryptography, cyber warfare, and governmental InfoSec policy.

Share
Published by
Derek Kortepeter

Recent Posts

Contactless payments are hot, but are they secure?

The trend to contactless payments has accelerated as retailers and consumers adjust to COVID-19 realities.…

7 hours ago

Season’s fleecings: CISA warns on holiday shopping scams

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning that online holiday shopping scams may be…

11 hours ago

Azure DNS: Using Azure DevOps to protect public DNS zones

This in-depth tutorial shows you how to use features available in Azure DevOps to boost…

14 hours ago

Report: Baidu Android apps had potential to expose data

Two apps from Chinese tech giant Baidu that had been available in the Google Play…

1 day ago

Shining a light on the dark shadow cast by shadow IT

Employees who don’t have the tools to get their jobs done sometimes turn to the…

2 days ago

Microsoft 365 troubleshooting: Diagnostic tools at your fingertips

Many Exchange Server troubleshooting tools don’t work with Microsoft 365. Fortunately, Microsoft has a bunch…

4 days ago