Google cracks down on weight-loss scams and phishing traps

The number of online bad ads, scams and phishing attempts increased sharply in 2015, Google said on Thursday.

The search giant — which last year came under pressure as Apple authorized ad-blocker apps to block Google-powered ads on iPhones — disabled 780 million ads in 2015, up nearly 50 percent from 2014, it said in a blog post.

Google said it continues to clamp down on counterfeiters, illegal prescription-drug sites, weight-loss scams, malware and other frauds that trick users into handing over personal information.

“Bad ads can ruin your entire online experience, a problem we take very seriously,” Google said.

The firm noted that if a user took 1 second to watch every ad it blocked last year, it would take 25 years to view them all.

Google gets about 90 percent of its revenue from online ads. To protect the business, the company said it has 1,000 of its 60,000 employees dedicated to rooting out bad ads.

The sweep is likewise clamping down on sites designed to make it easy for users to accidentally click on ads by placing them too close to buttons, diverting readers from the content they’re trying to see.

Google said it stopped showing ads on more than 25,000 mobile apps last year because of such violations.

More than 30,000 sites were suspended from Google’s ad networks for making misleading weight-loss claims, the company said.


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