Google has been tightening up its policies about the content it allows on its platforms. The changes come after several complaints about allowing sensitive material reaching users. The list of Google-owned platforms is long: YouTube, Waze, and DoubleClick are just a few of them. Youtube is banning channels and users by the day, trying to curb fake news and other malicious content. Here’s why it happens.

Spam and Deceptive Practices

Spam is the least popular kind of marketing and quite often goes hand in hand with deceptive practices. Typically, this material brings fake calls to action, impersonations, and malicious external links. YouTube policies prevent scams and spam on the platform. YouTube also prohibits material that tries to lure users into quitting YouTube and joining a competitor’s site.

YouTube understands as spam videos any content repeatedly uploaded on the platform or untargeted ones. When identified, videos promoting pyramid schemes or with catchy phrases like “get rich today” are ruled out of the site. The platform is also constantly searching for malicious links that could be attached to videos. It also has tools to curb phishing practices.

The advertising policy also got stricter. Misleading advertisements containing false claims or concealing important information fit into the description of “deceptive practices”. Such ads are banned when identified or don’t even get approved by Google Ads. This criteria also includes impersonated brands and ads about products that could be dangerous or harmful without due description. Here are other kinds of content considered deceptive by Google.

  • Clickbait ads (sensationalist imagery and information about celebrity scandals, etc.)
  • Misleading design (inaccurate business information, impersonation of famous brands)
  • Unreliable or false claims (weight loss, money schemes, and others)
  • Unavailable promotions (promotions that no longer exist)
  • Manipulated media (edited video, audio or text for defamatory purposes)

Sensitive Content

Google strictly prohibits pornographic or explicit content across all its platforms. Content showing graphic footage of violence, accidents or sex is summarily banned. Fetish-related content can be age-restricted or removed. Embarrassing or humiliating footage of wardrobe accidents, leaks, and unauthorised nudity is prohibited. Content that encourages self-harm or suicide, especially if targeted at underaged users.

Google-owned platforms are also committed to suppressing “inappropriate content”. It includes promoting hate groups and hate speech and harassment or intimidation of groups or individuals. False claims about historical events or the denial of tragedies are also removed.

Google has developed a tool to help users filter the kind of ads they receive. The service is called AdSense, and it allows users to restrict content with filters. Options include “significant skin exposure” and “sensationalism”. Here are other reasons why Google would ban content, be it a video, a picture, a text, or an ad.

  • Derogatory or dangerous content
  • Pornography
  • Child abuse
  • Brides ordered by mail
  • Shocking content
  • Sensitive events

Violent and Dangerous Content

No content should promote violent acts or challenges that include dangerous stunts. No one taking part in the content should also be threatened, endangered or harmed. Illegal activities are, of course, banned too. Content displaying or promoting the death or severe physical harm is also prohibited. Pranks, where victims are in danger or put minors in emotional distress are also removed.

There also should be no content that teaches how to cause harm or kill someone. It includes tutorials on how to make bombs and content that incites drug abuse or hard drug (opioids, cocaine, etc.) recipes. Content that promotes abuse or manufacturing of substances that can lead to addiction is prohibited. The glorification of eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia and other eating disorders, is also banned.

Additionally, Google prohibits ads on the following items.

  • Guns and gun parts (except for triggers, locks, safety pins, and chamber blocks)
  • Explosives (grenades, nail bombs, chemical bombs, etc.)
  • Weapons in general (military knives, switchblades, throwing axes, etc.)
  • Recreational drugs (any illegal substance)
  • Tobacco (tobacco products, rolling papers, pipes, etc.)

Sale of Illegal or Regulated Goods

Regulated and illegal products are watched closely by Google-owned platforms such as Google Ads and YouTube. Trying to sell this product via YouTube videos or ads results in banned content. Such items shouldn’t be facilitated by email, links, phone numbers, or other ways.

No content should link to unlicensed online gambling websites. Also, there should be no links to websites that claim to sell fake documents, such as passports. Prostitution or any compensated sexual service is also prohibited. Videos teaching how to purchase illegal items on the dark web are banned from YouTube. Likewise, related ads never make it through Google Ads.

Advertisement of software for generating fake credit card numbers is banned. The same goes for regulated drugs on sale without prescription. Here are some other items that shouldn’t be advertised or promoted on Google-owned platforms.

  • Human smuggling
  • Organs
  • Unlicensed medical services
  • Fake currency or documents
  • Endangered species
  • Narcotics