Google unblocks addiction-related keywords, rehab centre ads after year-long ban | Top Stories
Google has allowed advertisements with addiction-related keywords and phrases to run on its platform US after nearly a year-long ban.
The ban was put in place to crack down on shady providers cashing in on vulnerable patients.
“A small group of providers vetted by a third party have been approved by the company to appear in results for searches like ‘help quitting pills’ or ‘meth addiction’,” TechCrunch reported late on 3 August.
The ban on these advertisements was rolled out in phases in September 2017 and gradually went global in January this year.
The search engine giant had pledged to keep the ban in place until it could find a way to reintroduce the ads safely and ethically.
“It was provoked by a series of reports showing that people looking for help were being essentially traded like commodities and sent to incredibly expensive ‘addiction centers’ that often provided little recovery help at all,” the report added.
The tech giant partnered with a Portland-based company named LegitScript that specialises in verifying medicine-related businesses online.
It also decided to run rehab center ads that were verified by LegitScript against addiction-related queries.