No more sexually explicit Google AdWords soon

Policy changes are being made to Google AdWords some time between late June 2014 and around September 2014 to prohibit sexually explicit content, aka “adult content.” Very few in mainstream media and tech blogs have drawn attention to this (yet?), except for:

Conservative media and faith-based media have noted this upcoming policy change:

What’s actually changing on Google searches and ads? According to the Policy change log entry titled Adult content

The AdWords policies on adult sexual services, family status, and underage or non-consensual sex acts will be updated in late June 2014 to reflect a new policy on sexually explicit content. Under this policy, sexually explicit content will be prohibited, and guidelines will be clarified regarding promotion of other adult content. The change will affect all countries. We made this decision as an effort to continually improve users’ experiences with AdWords. After the new policy goes into effect, the adult sexual services, family status, and underage or non-consensual sex acts policy pages will reflect this change.

According to the entry Adult-Oriented Content in the upcoming Policy Center —

The policies here will not go into effect until around September and are subject to change. To see the policies in effect until then, visit the current Policy Center.

We’ll be adding more sections to help you comply with the updated policies, so check this page again around September.

Our policy:

Google restricts the promotion of the following types of adult-oriented content:

  • offline adult entertainment
  • adult merchandise
  • dating services
  • international bride services
  • sexually suggestive content
  • images containing exposed skin and nudity

Google AdWords’ has advertising principles defined for: user experience, safety and security, accurate ads, transparency and privacy, restricted products and services, Google’s brand, and trademark, copyright, and counterfeit. 3 of the restricted products and services are related to sexuality —

Restricted Products and Services

The back story? Here’s one report of how this policy change came about, referring to pornharms.com, a website of Morality In Media:

The policy revision came after a May meeting in Washington, D.C., between Google and anti-pornography advocates including Morality in Media, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family. “We are grateful that they are realizing that their profits from porn are not worth the devastation to children and families,” Morality in Media said in a statement released last week. The group said other organizations, like Facebook and Comcast, have also taken steps to clean up explicit content on the internet.

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