Google released its annual report on advertising safety, revealing the company stopped 5.2 billion “bad ads” in 2022. That’s a 1.8 billion increase over 2021.
At the top of the bad ads list are ads Google says abuse its ad network — that includes ads that contain malware as well as manipulative or spam ads. In 2021, Google said it stopped some 652.1 million such ads. In 2022, that number leapt to 1.36 billion.
Google attributed the increase to improvements in its machine learning algorithms that spot these ads, reporting mechanisms, and changes to its ad policies. Moreover, Google suspended 6.7 million advertiser accounts after identifying networks of bad actors that deployed malicious ads.
For all the company’s efforts, it hasn’t stopped malicious ads from appearing to users, including through Google’s own products like Google search. Bleeping Computer highlighted how bad actors use Google software to spread ads in December.
Gizmodo reports that Google’s director of ad privacy and safety, Alejandro Borgia, said during an online press conference that Google saw a spike in ads containing malware in 2022. The company took “swift measures” to deal with the so-called ‘malvertising.’
Unfortunately, there isn’t much data about how many bad ads Google might have missed. Gizmodo notes that U.S. federal law enforcement also noticed increased malvertising and even suggested people use ad blockers to filter out malicious ads.
Following malicious ads, the next highest number of takedowns was for ads that infringed trademarks. There were 425.1 million more takedowns in 2022 than in 2021.
You can view the full report from Google here.