In an effort to fight off fraudulent or misleading online ads, Google said it will require that all advertisers prove who they are and where they operate. The identifying information won’t just be available to Google. It will be made public, the company said in a blog post.
The names of the companies or people behind ads, as well as their countries of origin, will begin appearing on Google ads this summer, starting with several thousand advertisers a month in the U.S. before expanding worldwide.
Before Google approves an ad to run, the buyer will have to provide personal identification and business incorporation documents or other documentation that proves their identity and country of origin, The Verge reported.
Google users will be able to see the identity by clicking an “about the advertiser” option next to the ad or promotion.
Although the process could take years to implement, Google said it will be a defense against businesses and individuals who misrepresent themselves in paid online promotions.
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Broadening the policy will “help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves,” wrote John Canfield, who handles ad integrity for Google, in the blog post.
Citing the need to weed out fake or misleading ads, Google said that it took down more than 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies in a year.
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Moving forward, Google said it will suspend the accounts of advertisers that do not provide proof of identity, including W9 forms, passports, and other personal identification and business incorporation files. Prior to the new policy, Google only required basic information such as names and did not require documentation, The New York Times reported.
“Who doesn’t want an internet that is more truthful, especially with the rise of fake news, fake businesses and fake face masks?” said Douglas Rozen, the chief media officer at the digital ad agency 360i. “The inevitability of this makes sense in today’s environment.”