Google Takes Down Misleading Ads in Searches Linked to Voting

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) owned search engine Google said it has removed all search ads which charged users using the search engine looking for voting information huge fees for voter registration Additionally, these ads were also said to be capturing personal user data.

While speaking to reporters, Google’s spokeswoman said such ads were banned by the company’s misrepresentation policy. These ads were first revealed by Tech Transparency a nonprofit making institution.

The ads are said to pop up when a user searches words like, ‘where is my polling station, ‘register to vote’ and ‘vote by mail’.

According to the report tabled by Tech Transparency, around 30% of ads generated by its Google searches directed users to websites charging a huge fee for voter registration services, the searches would also install deceptive browser extensions, open other misleading ads and extract personal user data for marketing needs.

More specific, the report claims the first ad after a Google search ‘register to vote’ directed users to a website from PrivacyWall.org Upon accessing the website, users are charged $129 for same day processing of voter registration whereas according to the law U.S voters don’t need to pay for voter registration.

The spokeswoman said they had no idea how the ad passed its complex approval process consisting of both manual and automated review. She however assured all necessary measures would be taken instantly to ensure users have been protected from any harmful activities.

We have strict policies in place to protect users from false information about voting procedures, and when we find ads that violate our policies and present harm to users, we remove them and block advertisers from running similar ads in the future,” she said.

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