Google removed over 2.3 billion fake ads and terminated almost one million bad advertiser accounts from its platforms in 2018, averaging more than six million bad ads per day and such fake ads included approximately 58.8 million phishing ads.
The speed at which cyber criminals are running fake ads on the World Wide Web to obtain personal information of Internet users, con them out of their money, disinform them or force them to view ads and generate ad revenue is so mind-boggling that in order to protect millions of users of its platforms, Google had to identify and remove over six million fake, fraudulent, and phishing ads every day last year.
Google's efforts to rid its platforms, including apps on the Google Play Store, of fake ads included the taking down of "3ve", one of the largest and most complex international ad fraud operations ever that produced more than 10,000 spoofed, fraudulent domains, and generated over 3 billion daily bid requests at its peak.
The takedown of "3ve" involved a joint operation between cybersecurity firm White Ops, the FBI, and other industry players and resulted in eight cyber criminals being indicted on several counts of crimes including aggravated identity theft and money laundering.
Google used machine learning to snuff out fake ads
The use of new technologies also helped Google in its efforts to fight the menace of fake ads. Using new machine learning technology and 330 detection classifiers that detect "badness" at the page level, Google was able to identify and terminate almost one million bad advertiser accounts, nearly 734,000 publishers and app developers from its ad network, nearly 28 million pages that violated publisher policies, and also removed ads completely from nearly 1.5 million apps.
"In all, we introduced 31 new ads policies in 2018 to address abuses in areas including third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and local services such as garage door repairmen, bail bonds and addiction treatment facilities.
"We took down 2.3 billion bad ads in 2018 for violations of both new and existing policies, including nearly 207,000 ads for ticket resellers, over 531,000 ads for bail bonds and approximately 58.8 million phishing ads. Overall, that’s more than six million bad ads, every day," wrote Scott Spencer, Director of Sustainable Ads at Google, in a blog post.
In order to tackle misinformation, disinformation and hate speech on the Internet, Google also removed ads from approximately 1.2 million pages, more than 22,000 apps, and nearly 15,000 sites across its ad network for violations of policies directed at misrepresentative, hateful or other low-quality content.
At the same time, the global software giant removed ads from almost 74,000 pages for violating its “dangerous or derogatory” content policy and took down approximately 190,000 ads for violating this policy.