Tech giants Google and Twitter are reportedly banning any ads that include the mention of “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” from their platforms. The ban extends to everyone on the platforms except for selected official sources.
The Washington Examiner reports that Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe Google and Twitter have banned the mention of “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” in any advertisements on their platform resulting in many industries attempting to educate people about the coronavirus being unable to promote accurate information.
The decision to ban the ads reportedly came after executives at the firm decided that they did not want to appear to be profiting from the global pandemic. This means that only official sources, such as a government office or official and nongovernmental organization, are allowed to push out promotions and ads that mention the virus.
Representatives from industries attempting to fight misinformation surrounding the virus, however, are finding the advertising rules extremely restrictive. “They are putting a huge filter around the virus message, one that favors the government,” said one representative.
Another stated that if taking money from advertisers was the issue then platforms could donate any funds received from coronavirus related ads to an anti-virus campaign. One Republican strategist commented:
There are a great number of good actors within the private sector who want to share useful information or direct how people can help during this unprecedented crisis. No one is going to see their social media posts unless they pay to promote them. It would be helpful if these platforms would get out of the way or figure this out quickly because it’s only hurting these efforts.
A Twitter spokesperson told the Washington Examiner:
Based on our ‘Inappropriate Content Policy,’ we will halt any attempt by advertisers to opportunistically use the COVID-19 outbreak to target inappropriate ads. Government entities that want to disseminate public health information will be permitted to promote ads on COVID-19. In the case of COVID-19, we have put additional safeguards into place in order to facilitate the sharing of trusted public health information and to reduce potential harm to users. We are currently prohibiting the promotion of all medical masks due to strong correlation to COVID-19 and instances of inflated prices globally.
A Google spokesperson stated:
Since January, we have considered coronavirus to be a sensitive event. We implemented this policy out of an abundance of caution to protect users, and do not allow any ads to run on coronavirus-related terms. We are monitoring the situation closely and are making real-time adjustments to help businesses reach their audiences with pertinent information.
Google also told the Examiner that it had set aside $270 million to help governments and NGOs promote coronavirus education campaigns.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org