MENUMENU

Google will no longer allow advertises to use adult content

girl on bed

The porn industry is, unsurprisingly, not happy with the policy change. 

Google has demonstrated its anti-porn bias on more than one occasion: The company has prohibited developers from sharing adult content on Google Glass, and adult-oriented apps are similarly banned on Android and Chromecast. Now, Google has announced that they’re implementing a new policy prohibiting pornographic or sexually explicit ads, a move that some speculate was prompted by increased pressure from conservative media watchdog groups.

Here’s a more detailed summary, from an email that Google recently sent to advertisers:

Dear AdWords Advertiser,

We’re writing to remind you about a change to Google’s advertising policies we announced in our Policy Change Log that may affect your AdWords account: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/4271759

Beginning in the coming weeks, we’ll no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts including, but not limited to, hardcore pornography; graphic sexual acts including sex acts such as masturbation; genital, anal, and oral sexual activity.

When we make this change, Google will disapprove all ads and sites that are identified as being in violation of our revised policy. Our system identified your account as potentially affected by this policy change. We ask that you make any necessary changes to your ads and sites to comply so that your campaigns can continue to run.

Sincerely,

The Google AdWords Team

In a post on Google’s advertising policy support page, Google clarified that the decision to update the policy was based on a larger effort to “continually improve users’ experiences with AdWords.” Right-wing media watchdog organization Morality in Media, however, which has repeatedly campaigned for Google to remove adult advertising, is interpreting the policy change as a personal feather in their cap. “We are celebrating a HUGE VICTORY!” the organization effusively proclaimed on their website, along with an automated thank you form for their members to send to Google.

Unsurprisingly, adult industry marketers are not at all happy with Google’s new policy change. “Although they have been progressively disallowing adult ads to some extent for the past two years, the complete shutout was a surprise,” Adrian of AdultSEOPartners.com recently told the industry trade publication XBIZ (NSFW). “I can’t speculate as to their motivation behind this decision, but it certainly will be a setback for a lot of adult companies.”

Other industry members are concerned that the policy change reflects Google’s willingness to kowtow to the demands of anti-porn right-wing groups, or that the move sets a precedent for the company to remove adult websites from organic search results altogether. While that frankly seems unlikely, given Google’s demonstrated commitment to scrubbing adult-oriented content from its platforms, such a draconian policy change might not be that surprising.

H/T Xbiz | Photo by trang angels/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.