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14 June 2012, 16:43

Facebook, Twitter, Google and others team up to fight bad ads

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StopBadware logo Facebook, Google, Twitter, AOL and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have joined the Ads Integrity Alliance as charter members to help protect internet users from "bad" online advertisements. The new collaborative initiative was launched by the consumer watchdog StopBadware – a non-profit organisation founded in 2006 to fight malicious software referred to as "badware" – and aims to keep users safe from ads that direct them to scams and deliver trojans, spyware and other types of malware.

The Alliance says that it plans to build on its members' efforts to identify and remove bad ads by developing and sharing definitions, industry policy recommendations and best practices. "No one can address internet-scale threats on their own, so we're bringing together industry leading organisations to tackle the problem collaboratively," said Maxim Weinstein, executive director at StopBadware. By sharing information about these bad actors as well as showing trends to relevant policymakers and police agencies, it also hopes to build and "maintain trust in the online advertising ecosystem".

In a post on its Official Blog, Google says that in 2011 alone it disabled more than 130 million ads and removed 800,000 advertisements that, for example, promoted counterfeit goods or spread malware. "Bad ads, such as those that facilitate malware distribution or deceive users, diminish the online user experience and threaten trust in the Web," said Eric Davis, Global Public Policy Manager at Google, adding: "The Ads Integrity Alliance will serve as a forum for us to work together to protect users from bad ads". According to its recent first quarter earnings, advertising accounted for 96 per cent of Google's revenues.

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