Google to allow users to turn off YouTube ads for alcohol and gambling

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Google is introducing a new feature to the Ad Settings. This new feature will allow YouTube users to limit targeted advertising like alcohol and gambling.

YouTube users will now be able to opt-out of gambling and alcohol advertising if they don’t want to see them. They can do this by using tools set to be rolled out by Google in the UK next year.

YouTube users can opt to see fewer gambling and alcohol ads. The controls are reversible. Users have an option to even adjust the controls if they wish to see such ads again.

Google said that it was responding to feedback from users concerned by the number of ads for alcohol and gambling that they were seeing online, both on YouTube and on third-party websites.

Google wrote in a blog post, “We received a feedback that some of the people would prefer to limit ads in some categories like alcohol, so we decided to add a new control in Ad Settings, enabling people to see less alcohol and gambling ads.”

Google further wrote, “The new controls are live in addition to its existing policies which determine when and where gambling and alcohol ads can be shown per local laws like age restrictions. We have had features like Mute these specific ads.”

At present, it is already possible to adjust the content of personalized ads, which are based on users’ browsing history, via Google’s Ad Settings function. However, the majority of ads are contextual, which means that they are linked to the content being viewed on YouTube or on other websites that use Google Ads to sell space to advertisers. This led to advertising for online casinos, for instance, appearing on news articles about gambling addiction. Google will make it easier to avoid these ads using Ad Settings.

The feature will not guarantee to filter out 100 percent of gambling and alcohol adverts, but Google is confident it will exclude the vast majority seen on YouTube or on sites that use Google Ads.

The move has followed discussions with the alcohol drinks industry. Henry Ashworth, the chief executive of the industry-led International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, remarked, “Our members are determined to give people better control over alcohol-related marketing online. Respecting personal user preferences and distinguishing the differences in culture require action and sensitivity and that is the reason why we are hoping that this partnership is the beginning of a bigger movement.”

However, users in countries with legal restrictions against gambling and alcohol ads will not be affected by the new controls.

The feature will be rolled out to users in Ad Settings gradually, from this year in the US and early next year in the UK and the rest of the world. Google is aiming to introduce this feature for Google Ads and YouTube globally in early 2021.


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