Update to Adult content policy (March 2021)

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In March 2021, the Google Ads Adult content policy will be updated to restrict sexually suggestive live streaming, sexually suggestive live chat, sexually suggestive role playing games and general dating with sexually suggestive elements and themes. These content categories are still allowed, but will serve on a restricted basis. Advertisers promoting this content may notice an impact to their campaigns.

Additionally, we’ll be making editorial changes to the policy for improved clarity and understanding. These changes will not negatively impact advertiser campaigns and will include:

  • Changing the title of the policy to 'Sexual content'. All references to the 'Adult content' policy within Google ads policies will be updated to 'Sexual content'.
  • Breaking out current 'Adult' and 'Non-family safe' categories into more nuanced content categories.
  • Updating titles, descriptions and examples for the more nuanced categories.

We will begin enforcing the policy update on 29 March 2021, with full enforcement ramping up over approximately four weeks.

The updated Sexual content policy will read as follows:

Sexual content

Strongly restricted categories

Ads that feature or promote the following types of sexual content are strongly restricted. They will only serve based on the following conditions:

  • The user’s age, the local laws where the ad is being served, and the user’s SafeSearch settings.
  • The user’s sexual content Search queries.

Nudity

Restricted People or representations of people that display exposed intimate body parts, including representations that are blurred or censored

Examples: Visible genitalia, female breasts or buttocks

Sexual encounter dating

Restricted Dating explicitly motivated by sexual encounters

Examples: Hook-up or fling dating, swinger dating sites

Moderately restricted categories

Ads that feature or promote the following types of sexual content categories are moderately restricted. They will only serve based on the following conditions:

  • The user’s age, the local laws where the ad is being served, and the user’s SafeSearch settings.

Partial nudity

Restricted People or representations of people that display partially exposed intimate body parts

Examples: Lower or outer curve of the female breast exposed, majority of buttocks exposed

Sexualised theme dating

Restricted Dating explicitly motivated in terms of sexual themes

Examples: Affair dating, sexual fetish dating

Sexual merchandise

Restricted Sale of merchandise that's intended to enhance sexual activity

Examples: Sex toys, lubricants, aphrodisiacs, sexual enhancers, sexual fetish lingerie

Sexual entertainment

Restricted Online or offline sexually suggestive entertainment

Examples: Strip clubs, adult movie festivals, sexually suggestive live streaming or live chat, sexually suggestive role playing games

Mature cosmetic procedures

Restricted Cosmetic services and plastic surgery focused on intimate body parts

Examples: Female breast augmentation, penis enlargement surgery, vaginal laser rejuvenation, buttock implants, pubic hair grooming

Sexually suggestive elements and themes

Restricted Text, images, audio or video that can be interpreted as suggesting sexual intent or being sexually evocative. Content containing sexually suggestive poses or postures

Examples: Lewd or sexual language, images featuring legs spread open, touching covered intimate body parts, mimicking sexual positions or movements, dating for general audiences that includes more sexually suggestive imagery


Sexually suggestive live streaming, live chat and role playing games will be restricted under 'Sexual entertainment'. General dating with sexually suggestive elements and themes will be restricted under 'Sexually suggestive elements and themes'. When these policy changes go into effect on 29 March, advertisers promoting these content categories in ads and destinations will see the following effects:

  • New in-scope ads will be marked Approved (Limited) and will serve as 'Moderately restricted' content. This was previously referred to as 'Non-family safe'.
  • Because these content categories are restricted, they won’t serve in certain countries or on certain ad platforms, networks or formats. These are existing standards and not changing on 29 March.
  • There will be ramp-up time for enforcement and all ads in-scope of the policy may not be labelled immediately when the change goes into effect.

Please review this policy update to determine whether or not any of your ads fall in scope of the policy changes and be aware that in-scope ads will begin to be restricted on 29 March 2021. To prevent your ads and destinations from being moderately restricted when the change goes into effect, you may want to remove any sexual content from live streaming, live chat, role playing games and general audience dating promotions.

Violations of this policy won't lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least seven days prior to any suspension of your account.

 

(Posted on 28 January 2021)

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