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Simon Steinberger

According to their 2016 Bad Ads report released Wednesday, most were consumer-related hoaxes. By the numbers:

  • 68M ads for pharmaceuticals (Up 137% from 2015)
  • 80M ads for deceiving and shocking users
  • 5M ads for payday loans
  • 112M trick-to-click ads containing malware (Up 600% from 2015)
  • 1,300 accounts disabled for 'tabloid cloaking' or pretending to be real news

They also targeted fake news publishers: Google reviewed 550 sites in November and December that they thought pushed deceptive content, including mimicking news organizations to look authoritative and real. 340 were punished, and 200 permanently banned.

What they were looking for: Accounts peddling content and products related to weight-loss scams, unwanted software or contained malware, and counterfeit goods.

Why it's hard: Google's AdSense platform enables just about anyone to distribute and monetize ads, so long as the advertisers meet their long-standing policies. But Google's scale, combined with ever-changing domain names and creative that's distributed by fake news sites and advertisers, can make it difficult for the company to react quickly to every instance.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

A driver waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Inglewood, California on Feb. 26. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just over 2.4 million coronavirus vaccinations were reported to the CDC on Sunday, matching Saturday's record-high for inoculations as seen in Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

Why it matters: Vaccinations are ramping up again after widespread delays caused by historic winter storms. Over 75 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 7.5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% having received at least one dose.

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy: "We will lose" if we continue to idolize Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he does not believe that former President Trump will, or should, be the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

What he's saying: Cassidy pointed out that "over the last four years, [Republicans] lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. That has not happened ... since Herbert Hoover."