Oct 5, 2017

Google adds filters to block spammy, racy ads

Publishers have been pushing for access to Google user data insights. Photo: AP file

Google is introducing two new categories of ad filters, powered by machine learning, that publishers can use to block automated ads from their sites. "Publishers have indicated that they sometimes want to block particular types of [advertisements] because of the way they could affect their brands," Google's Director of Product Management Scott Spencer told reporters in Chicago Tuesday.

Sensational/tabloid ad filter: Will block ads that often look like click-bait. They feature celebrities, aliens, characters talking about some fictitious nonsense, etc. These types of ads don't necessarily always violate Google's policies, but the company wants to give publishers the control to have more mature creative — filtering out click bait.

Suggestive ad filter: Will block ads that are risqué or feature racy images, using machine learning technology that can identify how much skin is exposed.

Google has also rolled out an ad-blocking feature called "funding choices" which is a tool for publishers to communicate with users who have an ad blocker and ask to either:

  1. Be white-listed, or added to a list of approved publishers that they can be served ads by (or)
  2. Ask users to pay to buy an ads-free pass

Spencer says they have seen white list rates up to 15% in the first scenario and 30% in the second.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 755,591 — Total deaths: 36,211 — Total recoveries: 158,527.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 148,089 — Total deaths: 2,599 — Total recoveries: 4,886.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  4. State updates: At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders to residents. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized.
  5. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Axios co-founder Roy Schwartz discusses his experience being diagnosed with the virus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 47 mins ago - Health