Google to pause ads that exploit or dismiss Russia-Ukraine war

A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in California, US on May 8, 2019.
PHOTO: Reuters file

Alphabet-owned Google will not help websites, apps and YouTube channels sell ads alongside content that it deems exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US company said Wednesday (March 23).

Google, whose advertising software helps publishers generate revenue, bars ads from appearing next to content that incites violence and denies tragic events. It is broadly applying those policies to the war.

"We can confirm that we're taking additional steps to clarify, and in some instances expand our monetisation guidelines as they relate to the war in Ukraine," Google spokesman Michael Aciman said.

In an email to publishers seen by Reuters, Google said ads would not run alongside, for example, "claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens."

Google also bars ads that capitalise on sensitive events and has applied that policy to the war.

Senior Russian officials say Western media has misreported the conflict in Ukraine, which it calls a "special operation" to demilitarise the country.

Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday that Russia's communications regulator had blocked Google's aggregator service Google News, accusing it of allowing access to what Russia calls fake material about the military operation in Ukraine.

Many major Western advertising and social media services have announced new content and payment restrictions around the conflict, including blocking Russian state media RT and Sputnik in the European Union.

Earlier this month, Google said it had stopped selling all online ads in Russia.

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