Google search ads found in inappropriate placements

Adalytics’ report contains a long list of advertisers whose Google search ads it observes displayed on US Treasury OFAC SDN sanctioned, Iranian, and/or pornographic websites. This includes various public bodies, companies, organizations, and politicians such as: The United States Treasury, European Commission, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman David Trone, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, House Minority Speaker Hakeem Jeffries, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Republican National Committee (RNC), Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). It also includes US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Secret Service, Department of Defense (Military OneSource), US Intelligence Community, National Security Agency (NSA), General Services Administration (GSA), and US Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (, and others. Additionally, it lists brands such as Apple, Lego, Deloitte, Accenture, KPMG, Microsoft, Amazon, BMW, Home Depot, Uber, Google, Meta, Samsung, Paramount+, TikTok, Pinterest, Snap Chat, and Snowflake. It also includes non-profits such as United Jewish Appeal, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, One for Israel, American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Save The Children, and the British Heart Foundation. Several major media publishers, such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Globe & Mail, The Economist, Business Insider, USA Today, Axios, Hearst Magazines, and Morning Brew are also in the list. Laura Edelson, an assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern University suggested that Google’s ad buyers may not have visibility into how their own systems work. In Adalytics’ research, Google’s search ads were observed in compromising placements, raising concerns about Google’s compliance with US law. It also discovered that Google’s ad network ran ads on adult content websites, posing a risk to advertisers. The report also highlighted multiple instances where displayed ads are not suitable for the targeted consumer base. Moreover, TechCrunch was able to replicate some of Adalytics’ findings, observing unanticipated ad placements. Adalytics suggests the company may have restricted its ad network display ahead of the report publication. The report includes screenshots of these ad placements, underscoring concerns around brand safety.

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