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Google Surveys policies

Last updated on October 6, 2017.

The policies listed below apply to researchers and developers using Google Surveys and Google Surveys 360 (collectively “Google Surveys”) to create surveys. Violations of these policies may result in your Google Surveys account, and any related accounts, being permanently suspended. Be sure to check back from time to time, as these policies may change. All surveys created or served using Google Surveys must comply with the below program policies.

Content policies

Surveys must not be used in connection with content that is illegal, promotes dangerous and/or illegal activities, or infringes on the legal rights of others, including patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, and other intellectual property rights. We reserve the right to disallow at our sole discretion, any survey that we determine to contain content that is disturbing, distasteful, offensive, mature, misrepresentative (i.e., content that misrepresents, misstates, misleads others, or otherwise conceals information about the survey’s primary purpose), hateful or intolerant speech, or vulgar language.

Personally identifiable information & location information

Surveys must not request information that Google could use or recognize as personally identifiable information from end users, such as names, phone numbers and email addresses.  Surveys also must not request any physical address information, including City, State, and ZIP codes, except as expressly permitted by Google.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Surveys asking where you work but without using an open-ended text field or requesting for employer name
  • Surveys asking where you live or work but without an open-ended text field
  • Surveys asking for your region (west, east) but without an open-ended text field
  • Surveys asking for your name
  • Surveys asking for your place of residence
  • Surveys asking for phone numbers or email addresses
  • Surveys asking for your employer's name
  • Surveys asking for your social media account names

Sensitive demographics

Please note that age, gender, and geography are provided in the survey results as inferred or declared demographics, so you need not ask these questions in your survey.

Surveys may ask for age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status provided the answer choices are in groups or ranges with a "I prefer not to say" or using "Other" as the opt out answer; the open text question type is not permitted for such survey questions. Questions also must not target, whether by direct or indirect means, end users under 18 years of age, or include any age under 18 years old in answer ranges.

A disclaimer/permission screen must be displayed upfront for surveys asking certain sensitive demographic questions, such as religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status. Please note that surveys with disclaimer/permission screen can only be targeted to Android smartphone users. The Google Surveys team reserves the right to apply a disclaimer/permission screen when we deem necessary. Should the Google Surveys team apply a disclaimer/permission screen, we will notify the survey creator.

Surveys may screen in respondents based on certain demographics. Please refer to recommendations when using screening questions.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
Survey questions asking about demographics that allow respondents to choose from a group or range of answers with an opt-out. For example:
  • How old are you?
  • What is your gender?
  • Which of these race/ethnicity groups do you identify with?
  • Which religion do you belong to?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • What is your immigration status in the USA?
Survey questions asking about demographics that are answerable by “yes” or “no”, with or without an opt-out. For example:
  • Are you over 18 years old?
  • Are you of Hispanic origin? Are you Caucasian?
  • Are you a Christian?
  • Are you gay?
  • Are you an immigrant in the USA?

Sensitive subjects

A disclaimer/permission screen must be displayed upfront for surveys with questions containing certain sensitive subjects or demographics and asking respondents’ awareness/opinion about those subjects. The list of sensitive topics can vary depending on current events. Please note that surveys with disclaimer/permission screen can only be targeted to Android Smartphone users. The Google Surveys team reserves the right to apply a disclaimer/permission screen when we deem necessary. Should the Google Surveys team apply a disclaimer/permission screen, we will notify the survey creator.

We do not allow surveys that request information relating to sensitive subjects, such as abortion or personal criminal records. This is not an exhaustive list and we reserve the right and sole discretion to determine which surveys relating to sensitive demographics and subjects are permitted.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Survey asking about sensitive subjects such as policy polling (e.g., “Do you agree with providing all employees paid family leave?”)
  • Surveys asking about religious beliefs with an “I prefer not to say” or “Other” as the opt out answer and with a disclaimer/permission screener
  • Surveys asking for criminal records (e.g., “Have you been convicted or imprisoned?”)
  • Surveys asking end users about having an abortion

Adult material

Surveys must not request or contain adult content or content that could be considered to be adult in nature, including adult themes, adult activity, nudity, sexually suggestive material, and drug use.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Surveys asking indirect adult questions (e.g., dating a person with a sexually transmitted infection)
  • Surveys about online dating sites
  • Surveys asking about any use of addictive drugs, regardless of legality (e.g., marijuana)
  • Surveys about sexual satisfaction/dissatisfaction
  • Surveys about having sexual contact
  • Surveys with adult content including questions about contraceptives
  • Surveys asking about sexually transmitted infections

Offensive content and language

Surveys must not request or contain:

  • hate speech (including content that incites hatred or promotes violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity), harassment, bullying, or similar content that advocates harm against an individual or group;
  • content or language that is obscene, gruesome, or offensive, to end users, including invasive medical conditions, procedures, or surgeries; or
  • content or language that is otherwise inappropriate, including variations and misspellings of inappropriate words and language.
Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Surveys about a movie or book title (e.g. “Meet the Fockers”)
  • Surveys asking about medical procedure/preference such as liposuction as long as it’s not being graphic and not discussing the procedure itself (e.g. “Do you prefer to have liposuction?”)
  • Surveys about hating an idea, concept, shirt design, car (e.g. having answer options/rating scales such as “I hate it” - “I love it”)


     

  • Surveys with logo of a brand with inappropriate language

  • Surveys with answer options using inappropriate language or slang (e.g., “hell no!” or “f*ck yeah”)

  • Surveys about bodily fluids (e.g., urine leaking)

  • Surveys asking about invasive procedures or those that could be perceived as too personal or repulsive (e.g., “Do you plan to have liposuction within the next year?”)

  • Surveys about promoting hate towards a particular entity, a group of people, or person (e.g., “a company that I wish to go bankrupt”or “I want him to die”)

Push-polling or promotion

Surveys must not contain “push-polling” content, including any questions designed to influence or alter the view of end users, whether negatively or positively. Surveys must not be used as an advertisement or to promote the use of any goods or services. Surveys must not contain call-to-action phrases such as “Vote NO” or "click here" or "visit our website.". Text pointing end users to a URL is also not permitted.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Surveys asking for an opinion of a brand or product that include a neutral answer
  • Surveys asking for an opinion of a brand or product that doesn’t include a neutral answer

Policy polling

For surveys asking opinions on government policies or sensitive political issues, an opt-out option such as “I prefer not to say” is required for those who wish not to answer. Our Election and Policy Polling article provides further useful tips on how to obtain quality data on election and policy polling.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Neutrally phrased policy-polling questions with the required opt-out (e.g., “I prefer not to say”)
  • Policy-polling questions without a proper opt-out option
  • Leading questions that create bias or promote respondents to favor any individuals/groups
  • Policy-polling questions that promote hatred or contain language that is offensive to any individuals/groups

Health and medical history

A disclaimer/permission screen must be displayed before a survey requests health and medical information, whether historic or current conditions from end users. Please note that surveys with disclaimer/permission screen can only be targeted to Android Smartphone users. The Google Surveys team reserves the right to apply a disclaimer/permission screen when we deem necessary. Should a disclaimer/permission screen be applied to a survey, we will notify the survey creator.

Examples
Acceptable Not Acceptable
  • Surveys asking for medical history or current medical condition starting with the system permission screen that says “This survey will ask you about medical or health topics.”
  • Surveys asking about going through an invasive medical procedure
  • Surveys asking about having a sexually transmitted infection
  • Surveys about having abortion, which is a sensitive topic

Interest-based surveys (including remarketing)

You must not use Google Surveys to select or target interest-based surveys, or to collect or use audience data such as cookie lists, based on:

  • past or current activity by end users known by you to be under the age of 18 years;
  • past or current activity by end users on sites or apps or areas of sites or apps directed at children under the age of 18 years;
  • past or current activity by end users on adult, gambling, or government agency sites or apps; or
  • other inferred or actual sensitive information, including, without limitation:
    • health or medical history or information, such as from sites or apps that market to a specific health-related group,
    • negative financial status or other detailed information pertaining to a person's finances, such as information indicating that an end user has a low credit rating or high debt load,
    • racial or ethnic origins, such as from sites or apps that collect affirmative racial or ethnic identification from visitors,
    • religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, such as from sites or apps that collect people’s affirmative information on religion or religious beliefs,
    • the commission or alleged commission of any crime, such as information indicating that an end user has a criminal record,
    • political affiliation (to the extent permitted by applicable law, political affiliation may be used to target ads to end users or to promote advertisers’ products or services in the United States),
    • trade union membership, such as an end user’s visit to a trade union’s site or app, or
    • sexual behavior or orientation, such as sexual orientation inferred from an end user’s visit to a particular site).

    You must have all rights necessary to collect and use audience data such as cookie lists.

    Editorial Policies

    Surveys must comply with the Surveys editorial policies. Please also refer to the Surveys tips guide for guidance on best practices.

    Enforcement

    If you see a survey or question that you believe violates any of the above policies, please contact the  Google Surveys team.

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