July 17, 2020 / 4:02 PM / 22 days ago

Google to prevent ads on coronavirus conspiracy theory content

July 17 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday said it will prohibit websites and apps that use its advertising technology from running ads on “dangerous content” that goes against scientific consensus during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as the health crisis has continued to rage throughout the United States, and digital advertising giants like Google and Facebook have faced calls to do more to clamp down on misinformation.

Examples of content that will not be allowed to make money from ads include debunked conspiracy theories, such as the notion that the novel coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab as a bioweapon, that it was created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates or that the virus is a hoax, Google said.

The policy, which is an update to Google’s existing advertising standards that prevent ads from appearing on content like hate speech, will also prohibit advertisers themselves from creating ads that promote health misinformation.

Google currently allows only certain advertisers to run ads about the coronavirus pandemic, including government organizations and healthcare providers, in order to prevent activities like price-gouging on medical supplies.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Dan Grebler

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